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Washington Voices

Remodeled thrift store to open

Thu., Dec. 6, 2012, midnight

The Care and Share Thrift Store is expanding its setup in Medical Lake.

The remodeled shop is set to open Saturday. Care and Share provides the funding for the Medical Lake Food Bank.

“We made enough money last year to move the Medical Lake Food Bank out of our building into its own building,” director Anne Starr said. “Now we can expand our donation inventory to the previous food bank space.”

The food bank needed more room and stays very busy, recently serving about 700 people in a month. Starr said that number goes up every month.

“Everything we make goes to fund the food bank,” she said.

Volunteers are moving clothing, furniture and household goods out of storage and into the new space for Saturday’s opening.

Thanks to “word-of-mouth recruiting,” more volunteers have pitched in to help. One day last week Starr had about a dozen volunteers working: They moved furniture, straightened items on shelves, broke down boxes and made a trip to the recycling center, among other tasks.

Mayor John Higgins said the expansion was needed.

“Over the past three years, the food bank need has doubled or tripled in Medical Lake and the surrounding areas, as far as the amount of people they’ve served. So, they’ve been needing to expand,” Higgins said. “The Care and Share also needed the space because, previously, items had to be moved out of the way for the food bank days, then put back in place; so, they were doing double work. Now they can have that space. The ladies and guys who volunteer over there do a nice job.”

A core group of six dedicated volunteers, including Starr, runs the Care and Share. Among the challenges they face, Starr said, is people dumping unusable items, such as a stained, torn mattress. The program has to use its funds to pay a dump fee, plus find someone who can haul it.

Care and Share also works with the local outreach program to assist families with hardships, including supplying them with household items at no cost. The program has outfitted families whose homes have burned down with pots, pans and linens. They also work with grade schools to provide clothing for students through school counselors and parents.

Starr said the credit for the store’s success goes to the residents of Medical Lake.

“It’s through the generosity of the community, who donate the goods, that enables us to do what we do,” Starr said. “By the same token, the community shops here because they know where the money goes. I hear people say that they decided not to have a yard sale but instead donate to us to support the food bank.”

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