Chattanooga thrift store turns donations into blessings
It’s the time of year when parents are cleaning out closets before kids go back to school. They’re making room for new clothes and giving away ones that don’t fit.
A local thrift store is using new or slightly used donations to change lives.
Every purchase at Ladies of Charity Greater Good Thrift Store on Rossville Boulevard is an act of kindness.
“We have a big beautiful blue door at the back of our building and people bring in their clothing or furniture,” said Donna Antolak, President of Ladies of Charity of Chattanooga as she showed Channel 3 around the facility.
She’s part of a group of volunteers on a mission to help others.
“We have a layette room. We like to say it’s the heart of our organization,” said Antolak.
New items including stuffed animals, towels, blankets and diapers are sorted and stored to be given to new moms in Chattanooga and the surrounding areas. They’re distributed to parents in need at area hospitals.
The store takes donations for all ages, new or gently used.
They accept everything from linens to toiletries and nothing ever goes to waste. What can’t be used is recycled.
A team of around 40 volunteers take turns working seven days a week to sort, price and stack everything. They put a lot of time and love into their work.
Money from sales pays for things like medical expenses, food, housing and utilities for those who can’t afford them. "It's sometimes gut-wrenching, just the situations they're in and what they've been through. Some of the situations will never change so we try to help them not every month or week but as much as we possibly can,” said Executive Director Jan Clark who has spent her entire career in social work.
Sometimes the people Ladies of Charity helps come back to help them. “That's what touches me because they thought we did so much for them which that's what we're supposed to do but it's so touching to see them bring the donations and thank us,” Clark told Channel 3.
The store can always use donations and volunteers. “We have an 11-year-old and we have ladies in their 90’s and we also have men. We actually have a rocket scientist who volunteers here but we always tell people you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to volunteer. If you can hang up your clothes at home you can help us and if you don’t hang up your clothes at home, we’ll teach you how,” said Antolak.
Anyone who needs help should contact the thrift store to make an appointment.
The number is (423) 624-3222. The store is located at 2821 Rossville Blvd in Chattanooga.