This past week, we were invited to a reception at the Bargain Box of Wilmington. It is an outreach ministry of the Church of the Servant, Episcopal. It was established in 2000 to serve the Wilmington area. It is an upscale thrift shop, carrying clothes for men, women and children, as well as accessories, household items, decorations, books and more. They also provide training and job opportunities and they provide financial assistance to non-profit organizations in the community.
One of my volunteers, Kathleen, attended the event with me. It was her first visit to the place, and she was quite impressed, as I was on my first visit. They have an extensive inventory in their 3000 square feet facility. It is so well set organized and set up, it feels like a boutique. Their stock includes a wide range of sizes and prices. One room, the “Box Office”, carries high-end and vintage items; it’s a room that was frequently visited by the film community both to purchase items and also to donate them.
Part of their ministry is an emergency needs voucher program, providing assistance to at-risk individuals with basic needs, free of charge. In order to facilitate the program, they provide “Bargain Bucks” to agencies within the community. It is up to each agency to assess the needs of individuals and assign the vouchers as needed. Our guests are then welcome to visit the shop on their own and make purchases using their ‘bucks’. While they are shopping, they are also allowed to access to “Free Bin” which is re-stocked daily.
Bargain Bucks are in $10 increments. One certificate will provide an adult with at least one complete outfit. It can go even further with thrifty shopping taking advantage of discounted clothing and sales items.
The reception is an annual event, held to award the vouchers to 30+ agencies within the community; they also help 20 schools in New Hanover. The gathering allows the attendees to do some networking. We made connections with several other agencies that we can work with; my volunteer, Kathleen, and I will be making a few more field trips to visit other organizations to understand how we can help each other work with those in need.
This year, we were awarded with $600 of bargain bucks . We will be distributing our vouchers to individuals that have clothing needs that we are unable to fulfill – perhaps a size we don’t have or some other special need. We’ve given them to people needing special clothes for job opportunities, plus size items, maternity clothing and larger size shoes.
The income from regular cash sales supports the voucher program. If you are a thrift shopper, be sure to stop in and visit them – you’ll find lots of treasures. . They are located at 4213 Princess Place Drive. www.bargainboxilm.org .
I love their motto – “If we share what we have, we’ll all have enough.”
Special Need of the Week – Keep in mind the Center is closed in August. If you have items to donate, please bring them in or arrange pickup in the next week or two.