Archive for Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Thrift shop looking for volunteers, donations

April 26, 2006

Among the dozens of volunteers at Tonganoxie's Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Food Bank are several new faces.

Erma Thorne and Kristen White, both employees of Peruvian Connection, work among the charity's regular volunteers, pricing and taking to the sales rooms clothing and other items brought to the thrift shop.

The difference between them and other volunteers is that Thorne and White are on the Peruvian Connection payroll, even as they do the volunteer work.

Meanwhile, they're learning how much business the thrift shop does.

"I can't believe how much stuff goes out," Thorne said on a recent Friday morning. "We probably had 35 to 40 people through here just in an hour."

Peruvian Connection is a Tonganoxie-based mail-order business that sells high-quality clothing worldwide.

Owners of the firm are Annie Hurlbut and her mother, Biddy Hurlbut.

Annie Hurlbut said she was glad their employees were eager to volunteer.

"We have such a great staff at Peruvian Connection and they're community-minded," Hurlbut said. "They're just great ambassadors to the community."

Hurlbut said the company is between catalogs, meaning it's a slower time for the firm.

"It's a perfect win-win situation," Hurlbut said of the opportunity to help out at the thrift shop and at school.

And she said, it's popular with employees.

"Our staff loved it too," Hurlbut said. "I heard from two or three people that it was just really a rewarding experience for them."

Thorne said when Peruvian employees were offered the opportunity to volunteer in town, she stepped up.

White, too, said she was happy to participate.

"It's good to spend time helping out the community during the slow time of our season," White said.

Though the 19-year-old Tonganoxie charity has about 50 volunteers, its directors say they always need more help.

Two of the thrift shop's co-directors, Shirley Sheaffer and Dorothy Korb, said they were thrilled with Peruvian's offer to send employees to send two employees on Wednesdays and Fridays.

"They called one day and wanted to know if we could use volunteers and, of course, I said, 'yes,'" Korb said.

Korb noted the thrift shop provides cash assistance for rent and utilities to area residents. It's proceeds generated from thrift shop sales that make this possible, she said.

This ties together with donations of clothing and items from the community, which are sorted and sold by thrift shop volunteers.

And, food drives conducted by schools, churches and other organizations usually keep the thrift shop's pantry full. However, Korb said that right now they could use more donations of food. The charity gives food, and used clothing and other items when needed, to area families.

Though the thrift shop receives an occasional memorial contribution, Korb said those are rare. And she said the charity had received one grant, that she knew of. That grant, she said, was used to buy fruits and vegetables to give away.

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