Archive for Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Thrift shop curtails donations

Good Shepherd overflowing with clothes, furniture

October 8, 2003

For a good cause, Bill New posed in his shorts.

Running shorts, that is. Complete with a suit coat, dress shirt and a yellow necktie that matched his yellow shorts.

New, one of eight contestants in the "Best Lookin' Legs in Leavenworth County" fund-raiser, has in the last few weeks become a local celebrity of shorts -- er, sorts.

As chairman of the board of First State Bank and Trust, a lifetime Leavenworth County resident and a lifetime runner, New readily accepted when asked to compete in the contest, sponsored by the Leavenworth County Senior Services. Contestants' pictures are on posters, as well as on coffee cans in which voters can drop coins for their favorite pair of legs.

"I figured if my legs could make some money, I'd do it," said New, whose official contest photo shows him in shorts and T-shirt, standing beside a hearty bovine at his Angus farm northeast of Tonganoxie. "I've never been one to be out and get in the limelight, but I thought if I

"That's because for the last two months we've given out more than we took in," Korb said.

For instance, for the 75 qualifying requests for assistance last month, the thrift shop gave out a total of $835 in rental assistance, $2,900 in utility payment assistance and $100 for medicines.

During September, the thrift shop also distributed almost $2,000 worth of groceries, $175 worth of clothing and $25 worth of other items.

Bills to pay

While the thrift shop helps others pay their bills, it also needs to pay its own bills. Like other businesses, this includes the cost of utilities, insurance, upkeep and sales tax.

Thanks to the volunteers who run the shop, the thrift shop doesn't have to pay wages.

For instance, in August, volunteers put in 818 hours. From January through August, volunteers logged a total of 3,803 hours.

"If we had to pay somebody, we couldn't run it," Korb said.

The success of the thrift shop hinges on the volunteers. For instance, workers take all the clothes off the racks if they don't sell in two months. These are then donated to shops in Leavenworth, such as the Disabled American Veterans.

The thrift shop also works with the Salvation Army in Leavenworth and Catholic Community Services.

Korb said it's likely the rise in requests for cash assistance will continue. The thrift shop's food bank is always in need of all kinds of food products, Korb said.

Most of the requests for cash assistance come from people who have lost their jobs, she said.

And, in the cases of people who still owe on last winter's utility bills and have to pay their bills before the utility company will turn their heat back on.

"Some of them have enormous bills," Korb said. "For some of them they're $300 or $400, some are even higher than that."

And, she said, for those whose homes are heated by propane, there's usually a 250-gallon minimum, which means it could take $250 or more to fill their tanks.

"That's a lot to start with," Korb said.

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