These were Thrift Shop administrators, volunteers, board members and executive members from other cities. They had come to Winnipeg for a conference called Embrace the Movement where they could share ideas about how to run thrift stores more effectively and efficiently and to receive information and inspiration from guest speakers. I talked with people from Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario and other places in Manitoba. They were touring Manitoba Thrift Stores after spending a number of days attending workshops that addressed such things as recruiting volunteers, creating safe shopping and working environments, dealing peacefully and in restorative ways with shop lifters, quick merchandise turn around and handling conflict.
The people who came to tour were different ages, had many different professions and helped operate very different kinds of stores in places all over Canada. While visiting Manitoba thrift shops they were getting ideas for ways they might improve their own stores. Thrift shops accept donations of things people no longer want or need. They fix the items, clean them, price them and resell them.
Our visitors were very interested in the new signboard at the front of our store which tells the story of the four women from Altona, Manitoba who started the first Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Shop. There are now over a hundred stores in North America run primarily by volunteers. These stores have raised more than $167 million dollars to provide food, clothing, education, shelter, medical care and other services to needy people around the world.
At the Thrift Shop every donation and purchase is a gift to the world in two ways. It saves the world’s natural environment by reusing and recycling things and it saves people in the world who need help in difficult circumstances. It’s a movement that is certainly worth embracing.
Other posts about Thrift Shops……