Trent Ernst, Editor
The Foyer of the Tumbler Ridge Fellowship Baptist Church doesn’t look like most churches.
Instead of the usual chairs and tables for coffee, there are clothing racks hung with all manner of clothing. The coat rack, where parishioners would hang their coats on Sunday morning is chock-a-block with coats, shirts and other garments.
A half dozen tables around the room are piled high with pants and shirts.
Beneath the tables are labeled bins. One says “purses.” Another is filled with mitts, toques and scarves.
The church, located at 115 Commercial Park, is home to Tumbler Ridge’s new Thrift Store.
Currently, the store is only accepting clothing donations, but they are operating as brokers for people looking to pick up or get rid of other items.
“Limited space means we are focusing on clothing only,” says Jim Kincaid, who is on the Thrift Store Committee. “We will have a bulletin board so that people who have something an connect with people who have needs. We are keeping prices down, and if people really need clothes and can’t afford it, we can provide it for free. If there is an emergency, we will work with Emergency Social Services to provide clothes for these people.
“We know that people have three basic needs,” says Kincaid. “Food shelter and clothing. The Pentecostal church is administering the food bank. The government and groups like TR CARES help with housing, but clothing is where it falls short.”
There have been a number of thrift stores in town that have come and gone, says Kincaid, but there are none currently operating. However, with the mine closures, he says the demand is rising.
“We have anecdotal evidence of single mothers, of kids being sent to school without proper winter clothes,” says Kincaid.
The store will be running Wednesdays and Saturdays for people to pick up and drop of clothing.
The short hours are based on an assessment of needs, but also on the amount of time that the volunteers are able to work. “If it looks like we need to change days and hours, we’ll reevaluate,” says Kincaid.
Despite only being open for two days, the Thrift Store appears to be a hit, having raised over $300 in its first two days. Moneys raised from the operation of the Thrift Store will be put back into programs to help the community, says Kincaid.
Currently, the Thrift Store has plenty of baby and toddler clothes, but is looking for donations for kids from about age six to 12. While babies rarely wear out their clothes before growing out of them, older kids tend to wear their clothing for longer. The Thrift Store is also looking for more maternity wear.
For now, the Thrift Store will be open Wednesdays from 9 -1 and 6-9 and Saturdays from 10 -5:30.