New thrift store opens for American Rescue Workers
HUGHESVILLE – Reach for the American Rescue Workers. They are now located in Hughesville and on Saturday, September 1st, they had a ribbon cutting ceremony and a grand opening for their new place in the Silk Mill Complex on the corner of Railroad and Academy Streets.
The facility is owned by Carol Savoy who is renting the space to the non-profit organization who has opened up a new thrift store in the area.
This is the ninth facility owned by the American Rescue Workers according to Melody Bartlett, store manager. “We have added 41 collection clothing bins in the county,” she said. One is in front of the thrift store and another is located at nearby TJs Market.
They are in parking lots of businesses that are sympathetic to our cause and want to help with the collection of clothing,” said Dawn Astin, business administrator.
They are blue with the American Rescue Workers logo on them that says “Repurposing clothing, shoes and lives.”
The opening of the new store is to help with operational funds.
“Our advisory board recommended last year that we might want to consider opening another retail location to subsidize some of the expenses with trucking and other expenses,” Astin said.
Retail sales of recycled items make up 83 percent of operation funds which operate three homeless shelters in the county. In addition, the organization provides programs to prevent hunger and homelessness.
Often clothing and furniture are given away to individuals who are in an emergency situation. “Thousands of dollars are given away every year,” said Jean Myers, retail store director. Recently they helped a family with 8 children with beds and dressers.
Emergency funding has been cut to less than half and the American Rescue Workers are depending more and more on donations. “We need to rely on selling used items in the stores,” said Astin. They have been doing this since the early 60’s, however, stopped utilizing clothing collection bins since 2000 as the public began to use them as a “dumping ground to eliminate trash costs.”
Now they have more competition from other collection agencies, that they brought the bins back into the parking lots of some local businesses.
Many are doing this for profit and the retail for used clothing is becoming more lucrative. “We want to reclaim our contributions,” Astin added.
Without the bins, the organization had been doing many home pick-ups and often had trucks out in certain locations for temporary drop-off placement. They have been able to control what they accepted in those instances, but, because they were temporary, it was not as easy for donors to go by any time to donate.
Using the bins again means they cannot control what people put into the bins.
You’re always going to have people that abuse that method, but we’re hoping that by providing and continuing to provide services that we do here in the community, people will respect that and use the bins for the purpose they’re intended for,” she said.
In addition to the new Hughesville store, the American Rescue Workers have locations in Jersey Shore, Lock Haven, Canton, Milton, Mifflinburg, Montoursville plus two locations in Williamsport.