2009-06-18 / News

My Turn

By Sunny Hocutt
St. Matthew’s Thrift Shop epitomizes the ideology of “pass it on.” This shop goes a long way in helping the church’s general fund as well as many people and charities that benefit from its donations. More about this donation chain later on.

The shop grew out of old time rummage sales. Linda Warner remembers that the Woman’s Guild members decided that a thrift shop would expand rummage sales to include not only clothing, but household items, paintings, books, luggage, and much more. When St. Matthew’s new church building was finished in about 1968, the shop opened in the basement. Since then it’s become the place to get wonderful items and see friends who go there often.

Bargains abound for more and more buyers who crowd the shop every Tuesday and Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. I donate regularly and I’ve bought everything from designer clothing, with the tags still attached, to books and household items.

Shoppers roam from room to room, finding an unanticipated “must buy” in the right size and favorite color. It’s fun to chat with friends and to meet others who come to check out what’s available. A free table is a bonus for all who find an item that meets a need or suits a fancy. Children also can choose toys from their own free box.

Volunteers are a mainstay of this shop, and they add to the friendly atmosphere. A while back Peter Hoagland, who heads the group, called out “Hi Mike,” to a retired Providence fireman, as he walked through the rooms, observing the array of available merchandise. Another volunteer once announced, “The ospreys are back.” Only in Jamestown would the return of migrating birds be news!

Those who faithfully give their time are: Coffee Bell, Debbie Brayton, Laura Clarke, Keller DiLuglio, Peter Hoagland, Mary Jawor, Bob Knudsen, John Leyon, Linda Martin, Ira and Fae Murphy, Roxie Smith, Shirley St. Germain, Susan Warszawski, and Caroline Williamson. They sort donated merchandise, place it in the correct space, and are cashiers.

The outreach chain begins with St. Matthew’s general fund, but also benefits a vast group of people in need and other charities. Donations, like worn blankets or towels that aren’t sold, are given to the Potter League in Middletown, or to a veterinarian’s office.

Elder care facilities get used tennis balls that foot their walkers, making them steadier for patients. Even golf balls that land in the yard of a retired naval officer who lives near the golf course are donated to inner city kids who are learning to play golf–certainly a positive activity that expands their lives. How wonderful is that!

Foreign students at the Naval War College sometimes need everything, and volunteers show them what’s available and they get it gratis. Area shelters, like Lucy’s Hearth and the Seaman’s Institute, drama groups needing costumes, materials to be used in classrooms, and veteran’s hospitals are included in the generosity that personifi es the “pass it on” mantra.

Jamestown is lucky to have this example of outreach to those in need! Peter reminds us that donations are always welcome.

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