Philanthropy can come to life in a variety of ways—including sharing your time, talent, and treasure, and also by shopping. As National Thrift Shop Day was celebrated earlier this week (August 17), it only seemed natural to feature our very own thrift shop this month, Community Treasures.
Community Treasures, the thrift shop owned by Galesburg Community Foundation, provides a full circle approach to philanthropy. Generous community members donate gently used items, which can then be purchased. Any revenue earned through purchases at the store go directly into the Community Impact Fund that supports nonprofit organizations and community initiatives serving our region. The shop is also supported by community volunteers who do everything from processing donations to cashiering.
Samantha (Sam) Smith, manager at Community Treasures said, “I used to shop here and I quickly found that the quality of products is great. The items are cared for, unique and interesting. It was always one of my favorite places to thrift. It was nice to find a place with good people, vintage clothing, antiques, housewares—all things that I love. When the manager position opened up, I thought why not work in a place surrounded by things that I love. Plus, once I learned more about Galesburg Community Foundation, their mission and how Community Treasures was connected to them, I was even more excited. I wanted to be a part of a place where we bolstered the community from the inside out.”
Sam was born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma and spent some time in Chicago, which is how she discovered she liked the vibe she felt while in the Midwest. When it came time for college she decided to attend Knox College. Thanks to a class she took at Knox, she had to become involved with a local business, so she started working at Baked, which gave her insight into the town and the people. She said, “I quickly learned that a lot of people here really care and are working to make the area the best that it can be. The area is full of spirit and that drew me to stay here. I feel at home.”
For Sam, that feeling of home is another reason she enjoys her role at Community Treasures. “I know that when I come to work each day I’m helping our community. We also have a lot of regular shoppers and I love regulars because you become a part of each other’s lives. That’s the same with our volunteers too. We have so many volunteers who have committed themselves to our mission—some for decades—and they are wonderful to work with.”
Volunteers are one of the most unique and special components to Community Treasures as they ensure every donated item is cared for. Volunteers are a critical part of the process and do everything from sorting, laundering, mending, spot cleaning, pricing and running the cash register. Plus, they make sure that every donated item is cared for to ensure quality items are sold.
Sam said, “That’s another thing I love about Community Treasures. The items donated to us meant something to one of our community members. When they donate, we remember that and treat the items with care. This too allows all of our shoppers the opportunity to purchase quality items—because that’s what everyone deserves—no matter your income.”
The variety of items for sale is always changing at Community Treasures, so you never know what you may find. “No matter what your style or taste you can probably find something you didn’t know you needed here. The items donated to us are pretty remarkable and we take great pride in knowing that someone trusted us to help their items find a new home. Plus, when you purchase these items you’re helping your community. Community Treasures is a hub for person to person philanthropy and to make our community even better,” Sam said.
Community Treasures Thrift Shop, located at 444 E Main Street in Downtown Galesburg, is currently open Tuesday- Friday from 10:00- 4:00. To donate or learn more about volunteer opportunities please call the Shop at 309.342.9018 to schedule an appointment.