Payoff for castoffs
Thrift shops raised $4.9 million last year, but that’s only one of the benefitsBy Ed Nyce Mennonite Central Committee
AKRON, Pa. — What comes to mind when you see the words “thrift shop”? Possibly: Bargains. Hidden treasures. A place to take things no longer needed.
Or: Going green. Positive community presence. Source of funding for doing good work locally and globally.
The world of Mennonite Central Committee thrift shops is made up of all of these benefits and more, according to managers of U.S. stores who met for an April conference at MCC’s Welcoming Place in Akron.
Thrift shops also become places for volunteers to develop a sense of community with each other and with customers.
“In thrift shops, people can find affordable goods at a fraction of the cost of retail items,” said Diana Miller, U.S. thrift shop development coordinator for MCC.
“Instead of taking quality used goods to a landfill, people can bring them to an MCC thrift shop, where they know what their end use will be.
“Thrift shops support a good cause — the work of MCC — and provide opportunities for people who are looking for a place to volunteer in a local setting.”
From April 2009 through March, about 50 MCC thrift shops in the U.S. contributed nearly $4.9 million to the relief, development and peace work of MCC. The amount for the 12 months prior was $4.5 million.
Those figures might seem astonishing, considering the deals found in thrift stores. Eric Raber, co-manager of Save & Serve Shop in Millersburg, Ohio, points out the average price per item in his store is $1.
Volume is a key factor in translating $1 items into thousands of dollars for MCC’s work. According to Miller, thrift shops typically contribute about half of their annual income to MCC.
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