Angels of the Thrift Shop

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Mildred Dalin and Frankie Brown hold the honour of being the two early Thrift Shop “angels” still in our congregation. Among others remembered are Mabel Code, Eileen Fogarascher, Kathleen Behnsen, Connie Mackenzie, Vera Elleschuk, Kay Turner, Jessie Stringfellow.

When asked about the Thrift Shop beginnings, Millie commented that it “just sort of started.” The first “sales event” took place in the basement of the new church in the early 60’s. It was a one day event at which they sold baking, clothing and “odds and ends.” Millie thinks that they may have held one in the spring and one in the fall for a few years.

Then they went into “full swing.” Connie Mackenzie recalls proudly telling people that they had washed and ironed all the clothes—can you imagine doing that now! There were not the vast piles of items then, and they were generally priced at no more than 25 cents; and $1.00 was a very big ticket item! The North Shore was quite sparsely populated in the early years, and people who did live here were watching their pennies carefully. Therefore, sales in a day probably totalled only around $20 - $30; but the purchases people made provided them with much needed clothing and small household items.

Initially, Vera Elleschuk took on the role of treasurer. Millie then took on the job and still takes care of the money and banking. Frankie began volunteering in the Thrift Shop about 26 years ago; she thinks at the invitation of Jessie Stringfellow. She remembers that she and Connie were partners and would take their turn working a day. They’d go over to Millie’s in the morning to get the float, and then after the day was over, they’d go back to her house with the money from the day’s sales.

When Mabel Code moved to Kamloops, Millie invited Audrey Sundmark to be part of the Thrift Shop. The two of them often spent Saturdays together going around to garage sales, so they definitely had a common interest, and a good sense of prices. Millie and Audrey have worked together consistently over the years and have been a great team.

And there are more recent volunteers to be mentioned; Melanye Gough, Vi Spence, Kath Rowbotham, Gladys Ramsay, Kathleen Lucas, Darlene Volk from the church—not to forget Maggie Bolton’s visits with her scones for tea. And community members help out by folding clothes, tidying, etc,  

Now, why do we refer to them as Thrift Shop Angels? There are two main reasons.

First, they provide a wonderful service and outreach to the community by making items available at bargain prices. Also, the Thrift Shop is a gathering place and gives people a social outing. Their donations to a variety of community organizations and needs have helped out many people.

 And secondly, in the earlier years, without the financial support of the Thrift Shop, St. David’s would not likely have survived, as there just wasn’t enough money coming in to cover building maintenance, heating and electrical costs, etc. Recently, monies from the Thrift Shop have gone towards our new water system, upgraded furnace, painting of the outside of the church, carpentry work, world wide missions givings and community donations.

So there we have it; a very brief introduction to our Thrift Shop Angels. There is so much more to say, but we’ll leave it at that for now; and will add more later as more memories pop up.

Written in 2013