It happened again, a person knocks on our office door looking for the Second Helpings Thrift Store. The local Yellow Pages lists us as a thrift store, and people come by looking for it. Many vacationers make the “Thrift Store Tour” part of their annual vacation here on the island.
I can see how people would think that Second Helpings is a thrift store because of our name and our similar missions. We both strive to repurpose, recycle and reduce waste. We’re both about giving things a second chance whether it’s food, clothing or furniture and offering it to people of limited means or access. And we both depend on volunteers.
Thrift stores double their impact because the proceeds from their sales are donated to other nonprofits in the area, helping people with food, shelter, literacy and financial assistance. Second Helpings gets support from four thrift stores; The Bargain Box, The Church Mouse, St. Francis Thrift and Calhoun Station. I believe I speak for all the nonprofits in saying that their generosity is critical to fulfilling our missions and we could not serve as many people as we do without their help.
However, a word of caution. Whether you are donating goods, services or money, please do some homework and research the organization you will support. Not all programs, organizations and thrift stores are what they seem. Some benefit the people running them more than the community at large. With that caveat, next time you are cleaning out your closet, attic or garage, don’t just through away your excess stuff. Think about donating it to a local thrift store. Many people in your community, directly or indirectly will benefit from your generosity.