When you research the history of thrift stores, the first thing you come across is the Wikipedia description: “A charity shop or thrift shop is retail establishment run by a charitable organization to raise money.”
Since the 19th century, the charity shop concept has been to help the community’s needy population, and the concept has grown to help many great causes: the needy, addicted, blind, veterans and homeless. They typically sell used goods donated by members of the public, and are often staffed by volunteers. After costs are paid, all remaining income from the sales is used pursuant to the organization’s stated charitable purpose.
Organized as a church, Ft. Lauderdale Rescue Tabernacle, Inc., d/b/a Faith Farm Ministries opened its thrift stores in 1951 to help homeless and addicted men in the streets of Ft. Lauderdale. Today, we have three stores that help fund our free, residential addiction recovery program with 445 beds in Ft. Lauderdale, Boynton Beach and Okeechobee, Florida. Since 2008, we have had students from 41 of the 50 United States. Approximately 94% of collected revenue goes directly to programs that help our students, such as our Comprehensive Work Therapy Program and our recent Accreditation through South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary, which gives students who complete our basic recovery program 9 college credits. This is the DNA of a “True” Thrift Store.
As of late, there are many imposter, “thrift” shops opening around the area. They do not have the “Thrift Store DNA”. They are not connected to charity at all. They are privately owned, “for profit” businesses that appear to be for charity, but are not, and they don’t care to tell you so. Well meaning patrons think they are helping a worthy cause while they line the pockets of a deceiver.
And, those small, unattended donation boxes that are popping all over the place; they aren’t connected to charity either. These are private entities collecting your donations to sell for their own profit. Beware of those that will deceive you. Don’t be afraid to ask the following questions:
- Are you a “for profit” or “Not-for-profit” business organization?
- What charity are you connected to?
- Where do my funds/donations go?
- How much out of every dollar is allocated to the charity’s programs?
A “True” Thrift Store will gladly share their mission with you. Don’t hesitate to and do your homework!
by Judy Walters, Project Manager