Thrift Shop Recycling
How about $3 for a pair of shoes? They also sell housewares at uber-low prices, and volunteers stand at the ready at glass display cases to help customers select costume jewelry or perhaps an antique pin at a vintage cost.
But what goes on in the back of the shop, where donations are delivered, sorted, and tagged? And what happens to donated items that don't make the cut for the sales floor?
Mary Breakey, the Thrift Shop's president, is proud to show the neatly arranged plethora of sorting bins in the back of the store. Along with bins for sorting merchandise to be sold in-store are others marked with the names of other nonprofits. A tub is overflowing with eyeglasses that will make their way to the Lions Club, where they will be repaired and sent on to those in need. A SafeHouse Center bin holds cell phones, new cosmetics, toiletries, and craft items. Blankets and towels will go to the Humane Society of Huron Valley. The Ann Arbor Kiwanis Thrift Sale will pick up and sell the sharp knives and tools, while toys will go to the local Salvation Army store.
Ann Arbor Thrift is not alone in sending its donated housewares, clothing, and other goods for use by the clients of the nonprofits it supports. Most local thrifts do the same. But what happens to the donations that no one can sell?