Our church runs the Evergreen Thrift Shop. Why support Thrift Shops?
From the article “The Thrift Economy” by Larry Hollon
1. Thrift shopping provides lower economic groups access to goods they might not normally be able to afford. Immigrant populations are able to dress themselves and their children with appropriate clothing that allows them to assimilate into our culture easier.
2. The thrift stores are giving back to the community. These non-profits are original examples of social business because they have invested in providing for their community needs – children’s health, job skills, feeding the poor and more.
3. Thrift shopping is appealing to a new breed of eco-chic. Social consciousness and an increased focus on recycling and repurposed goods are at the heart of a portion of thrift purchases. Many conscientious Americans are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the environment. So repurposing clothing and other household items is seen as a green alternative. In addition, shopping takes on a new “feel good, do good” experience when you know you are contributing to a charity that you believe in.
4. Thrift shopping has a global impact. Have you ever given thought to what happens to the unsalable goods from thrift shops? Or have you seen someone in Africa wearing a t-shirt from your community and wonder how it got there? About half the garments donated to places like The Salvation Army eventually wind up in overseas market stalls or as industrial fiber. That second life translates into 17,000 jobs in the United States, an estimated 100,000 jobs in Africa’s informal economy and a multi-national trade in second-hand clothing valued at more than $1 billion a year. Between 1999 and 2003, the U.S. exported nearly 7 billion pounds of used clothing and worn textiles.
Social enterprise provides the ability to help on many levels. So when you are thinking about clearing out your closet or purchasing a new garment, think thrift and think social.