by Sara Webb Quest
Creative trends often come as solutions to tough times. About four years ago, the creative folks at The Family Pantry thought of a brilliant way to get rid of excessive clothing and household donations to make a profit for the pantry -- via the “Second Glance” thrift shop. Since then, the shop has grown, now boasting 50 volunteers and open six to seven days per week as it is effectively managed by Lorraine Cowhey.
The current economy’s effect on the people here generated the motivation for opening “Second Glance.” It was a good idea, because since its opening, the shop has successfully grown each year. To this day, Cape shoppers feeling stressed from the economic times continue to purchase gently-used clothing, household treasures and costume jewelry at the store --- benefiting both the pantry and the public.
The pantry’s executive director, Mary Anderson, states enthusiastically, “Business at the thrift shop keeps growing."
Shop manager Lorraine Cowhey does a great job managing everything from the many volunteers in the store to the many days per week it’s open [while] Betty Anne Holman, who works on the window displays, has always made the shop her passion.
"In fact," adds Anderson, "some of our volunteers are our most passionate contributors. For example, Betty was sponsored by the pantry for her participation in the HECH walk. Named 'the Family Pantry’s celebrity,’ she raised quite a bit of money in the walk on the pantry’s behalf. ”
The Family Pantry commits itself to using all profits, including those from the thrift shop, to support the pantry’s food, utility, vehicle, and salary expenses.
Anderson stresses, “It’s important for clients to know that all children’s clothes go to the pantry’s boutique,” where today’s numerous families in need of children’s clothes can shop for free, shelved-by-size clothing.
Ten percent of donated women’s clothes and coats goes to the thrift shop.
Anderson explains, “It’s mostly ladies who go to the thrift shop. High-end women’s clothes --- some with tags still attached --- go to the shop to sell.”
Men don’t typically shop at the thrift store. As a result, only less than 1 percent of donated men’s shirts go there.
As for household items, 20 to 25 percent of these occasional items --- such as tablecloths, small rugs, dishes, books, and jewelry --- go to the shop.
“For anyone who donates these occasional things, we first ask if the items can go to the thrift shop,” says Anderson. “Then we adhere to their wishes, as we respect them.”
Currently the pantry needs toys, unwrapped, for ages 15 and under, donated by Dec. 15. “We welcome money donations for toys, as well,” adds Anderson.
The pantry always welcomes clothing and household items, asking only that they be clean and in working order, although, adds Anderson, “we don’t accept furniture, appliances, TVs, stereos --- any electronics.”
Regarding money raised through The Cape Cod Chronicle’s current Helping Neighbors Fund --- currently helping the pantry with Christmas expenses, including both toys and food and stocking the shelves for the winter --- Anderson says, “We appreciate The Chronicle’s fund drive and welcome any donations from readers but The Chronicle’s drive is the single most helpful drive.”
The Second Glance thrift shop is located at 4 Cross St. in Harwich Port, one block off Route 28, in back of George’s Pizza. The shop is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring gently used clothing, costume jewelry and household items. Donations of clothing and items for the thrift shop are welcomed at the Family Pantry at 133 Queen Anne Rd. in Harwich. Donations cannot be accepted at the thrift shop due to limited space. For more information on the thrift shop, including how to volunteer, call 508 432-6519 or visit www.thefamilypantry.com.
To give to The Cape Cod Chronicle’s “Helping Neighbors” fund for The Family Pantry, cut the donation coupon in this week’s holiday gift guide or send a check payable to Family Pantry, to 133 Queen Anne Rd., Harwich, MA 02645 or The Cape Cod Chronicle, 60-C Munson Meeting Way, Chatham, MA 02633.
Copyright © 2010 Cape Cod Chronicle, Inc. 12/09/2010