What may seem like junk or an otherwise unwanted item to one could be an awesome find for someone else. Toys some kids have outgrown could be just right for another family. Donating items to Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM) to use in their Treasures Thrift Shop is a way to declutter while helping a community organization raise funds for their numerous programs which help those in need.
Looking Back, Looking Forward
FROM was established in 1998 in the old RAYA building next to the current Alpha Family Center location. Treasures Thrift Shop, usually referred to as merely Treasures, opened in 1999 With donation drop off beginnings in a space owned by King Milling Company, items and volunteers were plentiful. It would quickly be determined more space would be needed. The use of people’s garages, a rental space, and in rooms above the old City Hall building would provide more space but would not be ideal.
It wouldn’t be until 2007 when their current location would become home for FROM, Treasures, and other services offered by the organization. The name Treasures Thrift Shop was established following renovations work in 2014. Shoppers suggested names and FROM leadership selected the final name.
It takes a team of 150 volunteers to sort, categorize and price donated items, stock the store, and run the cash register in order to be open to the public five days a week. But all of this volunteer work is worth it. Nearly 40% of the funds needed for programs providing services to those in the community is generated through Treasure’s sales. Donating items and shopping local at Treasures Thrift Shop is an important role in the community. And who doesn’t like to trade unwanted items for new treasures?
A special donation room is located next to Treasures. Acceptable items can be dropped off from 6am-1opm daily. Popular items to donate include clothes, toys, games, books, and housewares. There are some items which cannot be accepted. Additionally, there have been people using the FROM dumpster for personal use and donating items in poor condition.
In a statement from FROM Director Dawn Broene, she says, “We have an incredibly generous community that supports Treasures Thrift Shop by donating gently used items and shopping at our stores. However, we recently have seen an increase in the number of people using our dumpster for personal dumping and dropping off items in such bad shape they are not able to be sold.” This puts an added burden on volunteers as they must pull out and dispose of unfit items.
The cost of disposing items which are left in the dumpster by people using it for personal use or leaving items in poor condition falls on the organization. In turn, funds are being taken away from the various programs FROM offers. Broene continues, “We wanted to take this time to remind people what we can and can’t accept. Items that can’t be sold or donated to other organizations have to be thrown away or recycled at a cost to the agency. We are so thankful for the donations we receive and would ask that the community be mindful to not donate items they know can’t be re-sold or to use our dumpster for their own personal trash.”
Items which cannot be accepted are:
- Items with missing pieces
- Built in appliances
- Organs and pianos
- TV’s, computers, printers, and typewriters
- Water softeners and trash compactors
- Liquid heaters and air conditioners
- Paint and chemicals
- Waterbeds and mattresses
- Refrigerators and freezers
Gently used items which do not fall into the above categories can be accepted provided they are in resellable condition. Adult, child, and infant clothing and shoes, household items, accessories, crafting items, toys, books, and sporting equipment are among the most popular items donated and sold.
Paying it Forward
Those involved with Treasures Thrift Shop are thankful for the continued generosity of the community when it comes to donating items and shopping in the store. There are certainly great finds to uncover with items changing regularly. A red bag can also be purchased for $1.50 and used when shopping to receive 5% off your total purchase. And the FROM Facebook page is also a place to keep informed on sales and red bag specials.
Treasures, located at 11535 Fulton St. East, is open Tuesday and Wednesday 10am-7pm through the end of the year, Thursday and Friday 10am-6pm and Saturday 10am-4pm. The donation room, which is located right next to the shop is open daily from 6am-10pm.
Photos courtesy of FROM.