Over the last several years, thrift store shopping has grown in popularity.
Not only is it a cost-conscious way of refreshing your home and wardrobe, but you benefit the environment by keeping well-loved housewares and clothing out of landfills.
Residents at Linden Ponds, an Erickson Senior Living community in Hingham, Mass., are quite familiar with the perks of thrifting, as they have been sellers and buyers of secondhand merchandise--right within their community--since 2005.
At the on-campus Treasure Chest, Linden Ponds' very own thrift store, residents contribute items, manage the shop, and search for the best bargains.
A wide selection
Currently, the Treasure Chest is open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Items for sale include furniture, linens, craft and sewing items, lamps, pots and pans, dishes and china, holiday decorations, cards and wrapping paper, decorative items and collectibles, pictures and art, office supplies, jewelry, and tools.
Most items go for twenty-five cents up to a few dollars.
"We sell what is donated, so the variety of what is available changes," says resident Connie Graham, who cochairs the Treasure Chest alongside neighbors Deb Graham and Jan Saltalamacchia.
As items are donated, Connie and her team of volunteers stage the shop to help visitors visualize what items might look like in their apartment homes. In addition to helping around the shop, volunteers manage two "window" areas in the community clubhouses, where they sell smaller items and greeting cards.
"None of this would be possible without the hard work of our wonderful volunteers. Everyone's efforts contribute to the shop's success," says Connie. "New volunteers are always welcome. Working at the Treasure Chest is a fun, social experience."
Sue Hertford, one of the many dedicated volunteers, joined the Treasure Chest shortly after her move to Linden Ponds in 2021.
"I previously worked in a resale shop in Florida," Sue notes. "It was lots of fun and something I truly enjoyed! When I moved to Linden Ponds, I was thrilled to discover the Treasure Chest."
She continues, "Volunteering with the Treasure Chest is something I look forward to each week, because I know it will be two hours of being myself and having fun. It's also a great way to meet people."
"Friends, family, and staff members are also allowed to make purchases," says Connie. "Sometimes we appear on Linden Ponds TV's Live Show to display photos of our new or seasonal items--to increase traffic and sales throughout the year."
Sue adds, "Knowing the proceeds from the Treasure Chest are donated to various philanthropic groups helps make it a success."
The Treasure Chest, preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2025, has donated more than $325,000 to worthy community efforts.
"The Treasure Chest is an important facet of the Linden Ponds community," says Philanthropy Manager Lori Rohleder. "Proceeds benefit the Resident Care Fund, which assists eligible residents who--through no fault of their own--outlive their resources; the Scholars' Fund, which helps the community's student workers finance college or trade school; and the Staff Appreciation Fund, which recognizes hourly employees."
She adds, "Over the last year alone, the Treasure Chest raised $34,500. It's truly a remarkable accomplishment, given how most items are priced. And the best part is that--together, as a community--we are helping and supporting those we care about."
Sue couldn't agree more. "Linden Ponds residents are very caring and take a genuine interest in each other. People are generous with their purchases and donations, and we at the Treasure Chest are very grateful."
'Makes you feel good'
Although the holidays have passed, Connie notes that residents and staff members are always stopping by to look for birthday and anniversary gifts.
"Because everything is very reasonably priced, staff and residents have a chance to buy nice things as gifts or for themselves," adds Sue. "Giving away something that has been a part of your life--yet no longer needed--and knowing someone else could use it makes you feel good."
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