Sparwoodians pop tags at the Elk Valley Thrift Shop

The Elk Valley Thrift Shop donates $10,000 to the Lilac Terrace expansion. - K. Dingman
The Elk Valley Thrift Shop donates $10,000 to the Lilac Terrace expansion.
— image credit: K. Dingman

Don’t let the size of the Elk Valley Thrift Shop fool you.

With support from the community, the store has donated tens of thousands of dollars to local organizations and individuals in need of financial support.

This past Monday, the thrift shop presented the residents of Lilac Terrace with a $10,000 cheque.

“It’s awesome that such a small group can do so much for the community,” Lilac Terrace Administrator Deborah Freisen said.

“It brings tears to your eyes.”

The money will be used for the facility's extension, where 12 new apartments and two new community rooms will be added.

And with a long waiting list, Freisen said this expansion is truly needed.

“So we can keep our seniors close to home.”

But financial support is not the only way the Elk Valley Thrift Shop is involved in the community.

In fact, their main target is the environment.

The 100 percent nonprofit shop has only been open since December 12 last year, but they’ve already donated 8,000 lbs of textiles that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill, store manager Katrin Taylor said.

“We’re trying to help our world in general. It’s great to start with Sparwood, but we need to get the young people on board.”

“It’s been a lot of hard work… but, you know, it makes us all proud and happy,” Taylor added.

Most of the clothing donated to the shop is washed, dried up and hung to sell to thrifty customers coming in to the store for a bargain.

Even textiles that can’t be sold are given to the Trans-Continental Textile recycling plant in Surrey, B.C. — a plant that ships clothing to developing countries and recycles fabrics deemed unusable.

“Nothing goes to the garbage,” volunteer Chris Chala proudly announced.

The store’s goal is to prevent dumping whenever possible and to recycle, reduce and reuse items. With a lot of support from the community, Taylor said they’ve been successful thus far.

But recycling textiles is just one small aspect of what the Elk Valley thrift shop does.

In the last six months the store has donated to local organizations like the Frank J Mitchell Elementary School’s breakfast club and the Elk Valley Hockey Association, and to individuals in need of financial support.

Taylor said this wouldn’t be possible without the help of the community and her volunteers.

“We’ve done a lot in a very short amount of time and that’s because we have a great group of ladies,” Taylor said while smiling at two of her volunteers, Chala and Dawn Wyld.

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