Last year, Re:find Charity Thrift Shoppe generated $35,000 for Wallaceburg Christian School (WCS).
“Every time cheques from the store were presented to WCS at school meetings, it was beyond our expectations—it was a blessing,” said Season Hoogstad, a teacher at WCS and a member of the school’s administrative team.
While this money has helped cover things like busing costs, technology, sports, art and music programs, it’s only one of many reasons the thrift store is so valuable to WCS.
Owned and operated by the school, the store has been a source of pride for WCS students, volunteers and parents. Along with its thoughtfully curated assortment of used goods, customers appreciate its inviting atmosphere, friendly staff and community-minded spirit.
Hoogstad is quick to praise the volunteers who have helped the store get where it is today. “It’s just incredible,” she said, “the amount of volunteers that step up to do it. It’s just been overwhelming.” There are a core group of ladies who help out, but the volunteer base has evolved, explained Hoogstad, as people with different gifts and talents connected with the store show up and give their time.
Hoogstad said she’s especially impressed by the number of volunteers who aren’t directly associated with the school. One lady happened to receive a plant from a WCS student years ago. The kind gesture left an impression, and is one of the main reasons she’s a volunteer now.
Students have gotten to know these willing helpers, along with the customers (the “regulars”) they meet in the store. “That’s been huge, even our students will go in on Saturdays during the summer,” said Hoogstad, adding that in the winter Re:find became a “a warm spot” for people looking to escape the cold and chat over a cup of coffee.
Staff at the store are also intentional about putting up posters for musicals, barbecues and events happening at WCS, so that shoppers feel welcome to plug into the school community.
The store’s commitment to tithing ten percent of its earnings to local charities is another way it aims to connect with others and bless its surrounding neighborhood. The shop recently delivered gift cards and a variety of health/beauty products to the Walpole Island Women’s Center. In May the store’s manager, April Tuininga, met with Habitat for Humanity Construction Coordinator to deliver Home Hardware gift cards, to be used for a specific family’s new home.
A few days before school started, Re:find gave $500 in PC groceries to families who are part of the Backpacks for Kids program in Wallaceburg. Volunteers described the donation as a way to give parents “a little jumpstart on school snacks and lunches”.
In all these ways, Re:find is living up to it’s mandate, which is to sustain Christian based schools while bettering its community in a number of ways: by promoting purposeful work that fosters stewardship and community and by being compassionate, generous, humbled and aware of the needs in the community.
Such values are meant to shape the climate at Wallaceburg Christian School as well. Hoogstad noted that student involvement with Re:find will be another way for them to live out the school’s theme for 2015/16, which is “a heart to serve”.
Click here to learn more about Re:find Charity Thrift Shoppe.