Non Profit Resale Shops Offer Christmas Solution to Charity and Gift Giving Dilemma

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More than 130 Chicago area stores provide shoppers a way to support charity and buy gifts at the same time.

"People are surprised at how nice the store is," Margaret Jones, St.Vincent DePaul thrift store manager said of new customers to her stores.

For many people, the Christmas season consists of two major themes: 1. buying gifts, and 2. making an intentional effort to help and be kind to others, particularly those less fortunate.

What if you could combine both forms of giving at the same time? Or, dare it be said: Kill two partridges with one ornament? Well, good news Chicagoans: it’s possible and it’s easy. Just do some of your shopping at one of the area’s more than 130 non-profit resale shops and voila! -- you’ve done it.

Located in virtually every suburban nook and city cranny in the Chicago area, these non profit shops help a wide array of people and causes with: Every. Dollar. You. Spend. There are more than 50 non-profit agencies that rely on resale shops to fund their activities: from St. Vincent DePaul, which operates one city and seven suburban stores, to LaGrange’s Community Nurse Health Center, which operates two on the street in downtown LaGrange.

Margaret Jones, who manages three of St. Vincent DePaul’s thrift shops, said while her stores’ sales have gone up the past several years, her charity could always use the revenue that new customers bring.

And, Jones, who has been working at St. Vincent DePaul for the better part of two decades, said once a thrift shop neophyte enters one her stores, they are “surprised at how nice the store is, how organized it is and the quality of the merchandise.”

Money generated from St. Vincent DePaul stores go to helping the needy through such programs as food pantries and general assistance.

Whether you are interested in helping the homeless, individuals with developmental disabilities or abandoned animals, you will likely find a resale shop with a cause that speaks to you. To find a list of area non-profit resale shops, go to http://secondhandchicago.net/article/10/the-formula-for-smart-christmas-shopping-2013.

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Michael Muhr

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