The Thrift Mart: 'A true gem' Community-minded volunteers make it work
Community-minded volunteers make it work
What New Milford non-profit has donated more than $2 million to service organizations, individuals and toward scholarships since 1990?
Well, it's the same one with the motto, "We do good things for people."
If you guessed The Thrift Mart of New Milford, you were right on the money.
Started in 1954 in a barn at 18 South Main St., The Thrift Mart has had many homes since.
It began in affiliation with Family & Children's Services. By 1985, under the leadership of Jean York, it had become an independent non-profit.
Today, it is located at 146 Danbury Road (Route 7 South), behind Monroe Muffler.
One thing never changing, however, is the dedication of its volunteer members.
"We go home at night feeling we did something for the community after a day of volunteering," said Sally Billings, the Thrift Mart treasurer. "During 2009, we gave out over $102,000 to a variety of organizations including the Senior Center, the Children's Center and the Community Fuel Bank."
Scholarships alone made up $65,000 of that figure.
Thrift Mart scholarships made up some 20 percent of the area scholarships awarded to New Milford High School seniors in June.
"We had to discontinue giving scholarships to students already attending college," Mrs. King. "We have so many high school seniors now who apply. We always have regrets that we can't do more."
Shoppers at The Thrift Mart find bargains and gain satisfaction from knowing their purchase price is helping the community, said Doris Curtiss, a volunteer since 1985.
"A lady comes from Newtown every Monday," Mrs. Curtiss noted. "Two sisters used to come down every Wednesday from Massachusetts."
Thrift Mart president Sue Metcalf gauged customer traffic by saying "Some days we only make $200 and then there was the other day when we brought in $1,000."
If a donated blanket or towel isn't sold, it goes to the Animal Welfare Society shelter.
Items that don't sell and could be used as rags go to the town's road crew. When New Milford High students put on a play, costumes often come from the Thrift Mart.
"Community service comes first," Mrs. Metcalf said. "A lot of our volunteers also volunteer at other organizations."
In 2007, the Thrift Mart was awarded the New Milford Hospital Heroes Award. A photograph of many of the volunteers from that year holds a place of honor on a wall at the Thrift Mart.
"They contribute very generously to our emergency fund," she concluded, "enabling us to assist a lot of households in tough times."
The Thrift Mart of New Milford, located at 146 Danbury Road, is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Donations of clean, wearable clothing and reusable household items are accepted during business hours. Tax receipts are available on request.
For more information, call 860-350-2153.