How to Help Your Community While You Shop

The following post is intended only for experienced audiences. Of course I’m just kidding, this post is actually best suited for aspiring shoppers who are not sure where to start their thrifting adventures! It’s also a good resource for those who may have stopped in their local store a few times, but want to expand their repertoire. This will be the first post in my shopping guide series. All of the following stores sell goods that have been donated, and at least a portion of their proceeds go towards non-profit organizations in the community.


Thrift/Charity Shops

Goodwill

Background: “Goodwills meet the needs of all job seekers, including programs for youth, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, criminal backgrounds and other specialized needs.”

Goodwill was probably the first thrift stores that I started frequenting. There always seems to be one nearby, and their selection is standard. The ones I’ve been to usually have a pretty large book section, as well as appliances and glassware. They have a weekly blog which features craft ideas, employee stories, and short articles.

There a few different types of Goodwill stores: Goodwill Outlets, Retail Stores, and gw Boutiques. Retail stores are the most common, and what one would expect from a typical thrift store. In Goodwill Outlets, items are displayed in large blue bins and sold cheaply by weight. There are no dressing rooms here, nor is there time to be picky as things can get hectic. gw Boutiques are a recent creation, where name brand clothing and accessories at a slightly higher price. Items are organized neatly by color and type.

Find your closest one here. Another option is their online auction site: shopgoodwill.com.

1200px-The_Salvation_Army.svg

Background: “proceeds are used to fund our Adult Rehabilitation Centers, where those in the grip of addiction find help, hope, and a second chance at life.”

Salvation Army, unlike Goodwill, has furniture, which means there are generally less clothes. Quality of finds depends on the location. I always find something blog-worthy at the Salvation Army near my campus, but I almost always leave the location near my house empty-handed. They mark all of the clothing with colored tags, and run sales on certain colors on different days of the week. They also usually have a senior discount day and a student day. Get to know your local stores’ sale schedule to optimize your trips!

Find your closest one here. *Note places to shop are called Family Stores. They also have a very small online auction site: shopthesalvationarmy.org.

Family Thrift Center

Background: “Family Thrift works with Charity Clothing Pickup to support local charities.”

Mainly found in Texas, Family Thrift Center is where I spent all my free time in-between classes at my community college. They have a wide selection, and multiple check out lines, which makes shopping faster. The one I frequented did not accept my Discover credit card.

Every Monday seniors get 20% off clothing. They have a unique weekly rewards program, where the amount you spend Monday-Saturday is translated into a discount (10-50%) you can use on the upcoming Sunday. You do not have to join the rewards program, just show them your previous receipt to use the offer.

They also have outlet stores, which only sell clothing, shoes, and accessories. They receive new inventory on Thursdays, and every item is priced at $2.00. Every day after, the price drops by $0.25 (except a $0.50 drop between Mondays and Tuesdays), until the things left on Wednesday cost only $0.25 each!

Find your closest one here.

STVDlogoblueonwhiteR

Background: Saint Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores are run by non-profit Catholic Diocesan Councils. They do not receive any donations or funding from the Dioceses. Each Society is run somewhat independently of each other, so the charities that they choose to support and the sale cycles vary by location.

Interestingly, the Diocese of Dallas has created a mobile thrift store, which visits churches, and delivers clothing and goods to those in need at no cost through their voucher program. Austin hopes to follow their example soon.

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift store locations include:

Eastern: NJ, , PA-Altoona-Johnstown, PA-Butler, PA-Pittsburgh

Mideast: IN – Evansville, KY- Louisville, MI-Detroit, MI-Grand Rapids, MI – Jackson

Midwest: IA-Des Moines, MO-St. Louis

North Central: Illonois, MI, MN-St.Paul/Minneapolis

Northeast: Massachusetts, NH-Laconia, NY-Rochester, NY-Rockville Center

South Central: New Mexico, TX-Dallas, TX-Austin, TX-Houston

Southeast: AL-Huntsville, FL-Charlotte County, FL-Naples, FL-Orlando, FL-Palm Beach, FL-Pasco County, FL-Port Saint Lucie, FL-St. Petersburg (Hover over ‘What We Do’ to find other locations), FL-St. Petersburg again?, LA-Baton Rouge, Georgia

Western: AK-Juneau, AZ-Phoenix, AZ-Tucson, CA-Contra Costa, CA-Los Angeles (Massive!), CA-Sacramento, CA-San Mateo, Idaho, MT- Billings, MT-Great Falls

(Wow I wish they had a central store locater website)

savers_logo

Background: “Each of our stores supports local nonprofit organizations. These are partners that improve education, fight diseases and help children and families.”

Savers also goes by the name Value Village, and I am least familiar with either. I always hear recommendations for them, I just did not have one nearby until recently.They are partners with Eco Fashion Week, and a vast amount of resources including thrifting tips and Pinterest boards!

Find your closest one here.


Of course, this list is not complete, as there are other regional and local charity shops around. I just chose the more well-known companies to highlight, as chances are that at least one of them is nearby. I enjoyed finding out how each organization specifically uses the profits from their stores, which gives more personal meaning to my purchases. My current favorite place, based on cause is Austin Pets Alive! Thrift Store, who help save critters from euthanasia.

Tell me about your favorite thrift/charity store. Or if you don’t have one yet, I challenge you to go out and explore. Treasures await!

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