Thrift shop deeply involved in the community
For decades, the Newberg Charitable Organization has operated a thrift shop in Newberg to help out the homeless and lower-income people in the community meet some of their needs. While the thrift shop is open to all seeking a bargain on miscellaneous goods, its biggest focus is giving back.
The shop does that in more ways than one. While it functions as a shop filled with various items at low prices, the revenue from the sale of those items goes right back into the community.
"Our mission is to provide low-income and impoverished people with clothing, household goods and linens," Janet LeFountain, secretary-treasurer of the shop, said. "It's also for people just looking for a good bargain and our prices are probably the lowest of any thrift shop in town. We didn't have any competition for a long time, but now two other organizations are in town.
"Where we are different from those organizations is we support other nonprofit organizations in the community, with monthly pledges to Newberg FISH, Helping Hands, the VFW post, A Family Place and others. We have supported the Newberg-Dundee Police Foundation as well and we've given money to the Edwards playground project."
The thrift shop's deep roots in the community go back decades to its establishment in 1969. Back then, the shop operated under the umbrella of the local hospital and in conjunction with its gift shop. Three years ago, after many years working with Providence, the shop broke ties with the hospital and established itself as in independent nonprofit organization.
Volunteers make the shop go and are the lifeblood of the organization, LeFountain said, and their contributions are what allow the shop to continue giving back to the community in the way that it has.
"If you're a volunteer, you're involved with everything that goes on here," LeFountain said. "I came in as a volunteer. I heard about it because my husband was involved in it and now I'm the secretary-treasurer. I do a bit more than he does now, but he's still involved as much as he can be."
Local organizations must provide a presentation to LeFountain and the other board members before they agree to donate thrift shop proceeds to them. It's important, LeFountain said, that organizations exhibit a focus on improving the community, because that is the thrift shop's entire mission.
The biggest thing keeping the thrift shop going after all these years is the donations, LeFountain said.
"Our business thrives on our donations," she said. "We don't purchase anything, so all the donations we receive are put back out in the community. We are surviving on the generosity of our community members.
"What we also survive on is word of mouth. We're doing more publicity than ever before, including working with local organizations to advertise. We also provide vouchers at 2nd Street Community (Church) drop-in center, along with Zion Lutheran Church."
For information on how to donate to the thrift shop, volunteer or receive a monetary donation for a local organization, visit their website at www.newbergthrift.org or call 503-538-5051. The shop is located at 414 E. Third St. in Newberg.
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