Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Thrift shop and ministry center shipping

When Hope for Healing.Org had a ministry center we also had a thrift shop. We would sort the items as they were donated. Once in awhile something would come along that looked to be better suited to eBay than in a local thrift outlet.

Red thrift shop table at Hope for Healing.Org
We did our part at the thrift shop to be sure the USPS could stay up and running. Our big problem was in not knowing what to do with the larger items. We decided to advertise those locally and on Craigslist.

Excess clothing from the thrift shop was sold in bulk and distributed worldwide. I was told that the large buyers would sometimes use a freight broker to schedule and haul the loads.

I didn't realize the full scope of what running a thrift shop entailed. It was more than just a ministry center. The thrift shop provided jobs and job training while providing funds to the nonprofit at the same time.

One of our most fun things at the thrift shop was repurposing and recreating furniture pieces. Someone brought in a table with the rustiest legs on it that you ever saw. The top was in equally rough shape. Our juvenile offenders went to work on it with steel brushes and sandpaper. We cleaned it off and sealed it.

Then, everyone at the thrift shop took their turn at it with the spray paint and more sealer. The result was a stunning red topped table that you see in the photo. Because ours was a combination ministry center and thrift shop the table wasn't sold. It went to a man who was coming out of a homeless shelter. He said he would value the table and we believed him.

The organization has moved more into education than hands-on assistance. They don't have a thrift shop any longer. I still think of stories like this table and other things that we did every time I pass a thrift shop. Most of all, I still take donations by every chance that I get.