As we enter the holiday season, it seems like every day has a special name. There was Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. And today is special too, it is Giving Tuesday.
I had no idea why today is #GivingTuesday, so I did what we all do when we need answers, I Googled it. Turns out there is a Giving Tuesday site (you knew there had to be) where you can learn how it all came about.
With the holidays seeming to be more and more about consumerism and less about the actual meaning of any holiday (somehow I doubt that the three wise men stood outside a big box store waiting to get in to purchase their gold, frankincense and myrrh at a discount), the idea of giving instead of buying seems to me to fit the season better.
There are so many wonderful organizations that could use our help. It’s hard to choose which one (or ones) to give to. (And there are websites out there that can help you decide which ones best fit what you’d like to accomplish.) Being a Jersey girl, I’d encourage you to do some local giving.
There is one that is very near and dear to my heart that many might not consider so I wanted to give it a plug today: The Thrift Shop at The First Presbyterian Church (located at 10 Fairview Avenue with parking behind the church).
It’s no secret that I’m a volunteer at the shop (and every single person who works there is a volunteer; no one is paid for their time). The shop is celebrating its fifth anniversary this fall and came about as the result of some forward thinking women who ran the church’s annual “Trash and Treasure” sale.
Countless hours were spent preparing for the one day sale. Hundreds of people would converge on the Saturday of the event. When it was all over there were more hours dedicated to clean up and disposal of left over items. It was out of these circumstances that the idea of the thrift shop was born. There was room in the church’s fellowship hall (located in the basement of the building, which unfortunately does not make the shop accessible to those who cannot manage stairs), why not take the unsold items down there are offer them for sale? Donated items to the Trash and Treasure sale could sit around for months, taking up space and not being used.
With the idea of a thrift shop, items could be donated year round and purchased year round. The shop would be open when the church was open and would be manned (or womanned as it may be) by volunteers so there would be no cost to the church. All profit would be used to support the church (like helping to keep the boiler going so there was heat) and the church’s and thrift shop’s mission. For example, money made at the thrift shop goes towards purchasing gift cards to local grocery stores to give to those in need or given to the Verona Children’s Fund. The shop has also coordinated with the township to provide individuals in need with clothing and household items.
Thus the Thrift Shop was born and over the years it has blossomed. Open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. volunteers (many of whom are not members of the church) coordinate and arrange to make a place that would rival any boutique. Clothing is arranged by size on the left hand side of the shop. Seasonal items are in the back. Children’s toys can be found in the back right. Household supplies can be found in the middle. Books and music can be found towards the front. There’s even a jewelry counter!
Shopping today (Giving Tuesday) or any Tuesday or Saturday, you can find the perfect gift for a friend or for yourself and you have the satisfaction of knowing that your purchase will not line the pockets of a CEO, but go back into the community. Plus it’s a green business: Gently used items are not going into a landfill, but are cleaned up, cared for and sold. (I can attest to the quality too; I’m the proud owner of a “new to me” coffee table that rivals anything you might find in a furniture store and was 1/10 the price!)
Giving doesn’t have to be financial. You can support the Thrift Shop with donations of gently used items such as clothing, toys, etc. (Items are accepted when the church is open, but if you need proof of donation, please drop off during thrift shop hours. Volunteers are happy to help you bring items in from your car.) Or you can volunteer your time. The shop can always use extra hands to help out and you’ll have fun doing it.
If you chose to do your giving/shopping today (or any Tuesday/Saturday) at the Thrift Shop, I’d like to personally thank you. However, if thrift shopping is not your bag, I’d like to remind you that we may be a small town but there are plenty of opportunities within our borders to help and give. Some more suggestions can be found here.
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For more than four years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.