Thrift Shop Outreach Program
Our mission is to provide a significant community resource with:
- Quality merchandise
- Very affordable prices
- Friendly and helpful service
- Clean, orderly environment
- Extensive costume rental section for school and community productions
On most weekends we serve between 65 and 90 customers (more when we are running a sale) ranging from non-English speaking adults to single mothers/families in often difficult financial situations; collectors looking for a special toy, dish or vintage piece of clothing and working individuals in need of affordable business wear. We have a large number of loyal customers who stop in regularly to see “what’s new”or on sale or bring a donation. The atmosphere is a warm and friendly one, reminiscent of the old “store” where neighbors came in to visit as well as to shop.
What type of people volunteer for the Thrift Shop Outreach Committee?
Most volunteers are church members but several are from the community or customers who share our purpose and enjoy the work. We also have occasional “interns” , usually students who need to fulfill a number of service hours. Also there are adults who must perform community service hours---these folks are referred to us by local agencies. Hours are Saturday 10am – 2pm. We would love to be open additional hours/days but need more “warm bodies and willing hands” to make it possible.
In addition to hours at the shop, there are bi-annual meetings with lots of networking and camaraderie in between. Additional meetings can be held if a specific purpose arises.
Our current volunteers include a middle school student, school teachers, nurses, a travel agent, retired business professionals, home makers, and a carpenter; in other words a real cross section of our community.
What do Thrift Shop volunteers do?
All volunteers share the workload. Donations must be sorted, sized, priced and distributed on the sales floor. The racks need to constantly be straightened, customers assisted with their questions, stock must be rotated, displays arranged and updated. Out of season merchandise must be packed and moved to the storage area while current items are brought out for sale. General housekeeping such as dusting and cleaning shelves is also a constant. We often have workdays during the week to prepare the shop for our open hours.
What are you looking for in volunteers?
More help would be wonderful. In addition to general volunteers, having male volunteers, particularly for Saturdays, would be a big bonus. Many donations come from elderly folks who need help bringing their items into the shop. Customers also may require assistance with their purchases and there is always a need for items to be moved to and from storage. We also need a creative person to do window displays and a person with marketing expertise. As we serve a good number of patrons with little or no English, someone fluent in Spanish would really be an asset.
What donations do you need the most?
We could really use more donations of jewelry, gift items and collectables. Interesting antique pieces are also welcome and popular with our shoppers. Due to space constraints, we are not able to take furniture, TVs, microwave ovens, or computers.
How long has the shop been around and who started it?
The shop was started in March 1987 by a group of church women. It arose out of the “rummage sales” then run as fund raisers. There was always a lot of clothing left over which had to be stored until the next sale or disposed of in some manner. We had an empty “room” where the old stage was located and converted it to the Thrift Shop. Over time, as donations and sales increased, the shop expanded into two other rooms which were by then no longer being used for a nursery school.