Guest blog post written by social media volunteer, Melissa.
Thanks to Macklemore’s hit song Thrift Shop, thrift stores have become more popular than ever for people looking for “authentic” vintage apparel. While this might be the case for hipsters and millennials the thrift store is also a destination of necessity for many of America’s working-class.
This was not, however, always the case. Prior to the early 20th century, second hand/consignment goods were often considered sullied and unwholesome. It wasn’t until 1902 when Reverend Edgar J. Helms founded what is now known as Goodwill Industries, did thrift stores see a rise in popularity and necessity among the American people.
Thrift stores and consignment shops have continued to gain favor in this retail centric world. According to the National Association of Resale Professionals, the number of thrift stores, consignment shops, and other retailers selling second-hand merchandise has increased 7% in each of the past two years. And approximately 16-18% of Americans will shop at a thrift store in a given year.
So why have thrift shops continued to boom? Turns out Gen Y realized spending $50 on a TopShop t-shirt wasn’t too smart if you’re burdened with huge student loans and an awful job market. While the youth generation may have turned to thrift shops out of necessity, they’ve helped reshape the American view on thrift shops to what is now considered sensible and even cool. And as Macklemore would say, “I wear your granddad’s clothes, damn right I look incredible.”
So why should you shop at Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop?
1. You’ll find a bargain
You probably already guessed this, with “thrift” being in our name. What you might not know is that each month select colored tagged items go on sale. For the month of August you’ll find green tagged items 75% off and red tagged items 50% off. Each month we also do a drawing for a $35 gift certificate. Stop by to be entered to win. This month we’re also celebrating National Thrift Store Day. All items in the store will be 50-75% off on August 17. Now that’s a bargain!
2. We’re all volunteer run
Everyone who contributes their time to Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop is a dedicated volunteer who wants to give back to their community. And we’re always looking for new volunteers to join us! Interested? Discover the possibilities of volunteering here: http://www.ecathriftshop.org/volunteers.html
3. We always have new items
We’re constantly getting in new items. What’s here today could be gone tomorrow and tomorrow will have a whole bunch of new items. Our ever changing inventory means you’ll find plenty of one-of-a-kind items to complete that special outfit, retro dinner set, or living room gallery wall.
4. We give back to the local community
Since January 2017 we’ve donated $131,000 to local non-profits. From arts to housing, children and youth services to education, and domestic violence prevention to recreation, we support a wide variety of non-profits. Check out all of our grant recipients here: http://www.ecathriftshop.org/recipients.html
Whether you’re looking for a bargain, a vintage jacket, or an item to repurpose for your living room, stop by Eastside Community Aid Thrift Store. While we have bargains all year long, we’re having a huge celebration on August 17 for National Thrift Shop Day. We can’t wait to see what treasures you’ll discover!
Guest blog written by social media volunteer Melissa.
Not too long ago I volunteered with my sorority alumni group at the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle. We had prepped a taco bar dinner for the families and everyone was eager to help out and make the meal delicious. I love cooking and had a wonderful experience.
After we'd cooked and cleaned, the house manager stopped by to thank us. While we were chatting she shared that the house doesn't get many volunteers in the off season. Unsure of what she meant, I asked her to explain. According to her, many people think to give during the holidays, but there is a steep decline in volunteers during the rest of the year—volunteers are needed all year long.
While people tend to feel more charitable during the "giving season" there are plenty of reasons to volunteer throughout the year.
Volunteering makes you feel like you have more time and money
Even if it's only a few hours, volunteering makes you feel like you have more time. Because you can give back to others or a cause you care about, you feel like your time is better spent. Millennials have often been accused of being self-absorbed thanks to social media, so when I can volunteer my spare time I not only feel like I'm breaking that stereotype, but that I'm also doing something that makes me feel better about myself.
Similarly, according to Next Avenue those who donate to charities also feel wealthier. According to The NonProfit Hub millennial volunteers are more likely to donate money than their time. While money is helpful, I'd rather do something to make a difference. I want to know my time and energy is actually doing some good. Plus, with money you don't always know where or what it's actually funding.
So what is your volunteering time worth? Can you put a price on volunteer hours? According to the Independent Sector one hour of volunteering in 2016 in Washington state was equivalent to a $30.04/hr donation! Since I usually volunteer a couple hours at a time, this makes me feel even better because I'm actually giving more than I'd be able to monetarily.
Volunteering helps you build new skills and gain experience
As a young professional many people told me that volunteering was a good way to gain experience or build on my skills. And this is so true! There are many volunteer organizations that rely on skilled volunteers to help them. (This doesn't mean you should work for free if a company can't pay you though!)
I love to write and have some experience updating websites. Because of these skills I am able to volunteer a couple hours a month at the Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop, whose profits are donated back into local community non-profit programs. Not only have I been able to volunteer my skills, but I have become a more confident writer and enjoy updating webpages. Plus, I can add this to my resume. Win-win!
You'd be surprised what skills you can use to help volunteer! My Seattle ADPi Alumni Association has members that are big Disney fans. We use this passion to host movie nights at the Ronald McDonald House, providing snacks and a fun night for families staying there. We also love celebrating holidays. A couple times throughout the year our alumni association meets up with the local UW chapter and puts together treat bags for children at the Ronald McDonald House. Most recently we created Valentines and Halloween treat bags.
Everyone has skills that they can volunteer in their local community.
Volunteering leads to better health
If feeling better about yourself and working on your skill set wasn't enough, volunteering also leads to a healthier life. According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life compared to those who do not volunteer.
An article from the HuffPost, seconded this research stating that most people feel mentally and physically better after volunteering. They also shared staggering statistics from the United Health Group about how volunteering benefits your health:
Whether you're unsure of which skills you can share or feel like you don't have the time or resources, know that you are valuable to volunteer organizations.
If you'd like to volunteer with the ECA Thrift Shop, click our volunteer link. It's good for you and for us!
Susan is a frequent volunteer at Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop, where she sorts, prices, and stocks merchandise to her heart's content. Before retirement, she owned and operated a consignment shop for women's plus size clothing in Seattle. Through trial and error and talking with customers, she learned a thing or two. An avid "thrift shopper," Susan loves to buy clothing, especially when she gets good quality and value for her money.
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Eastside Community Aid
Every donation makes a difference.
Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop is a 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit organization.
All donations made to us are tax deductible. Tax ID #91-1155373