JAY — The St. Rose Thrift Store, located in the parish hall on Church Street, has reached out and touched the lives of thousands of area residents since opening in October 2020.

“The thrift store provides a budget-friendly shopping location featuring clothes, household items, and limited furniture,” said Stephanie Crowe, the parish social ministry coordinator for St. Rose of Lima Parish in Jay and St. Joseph Parish in Farmington, according to a news release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. “All proceeds benefit our parish social ministry which expands our capacity for doing good in the community.”

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays. Hours were expanded because of the popularity of the store and the generosity of volunteers. When the store is open, donations are accepted, including antiques, collectibles, books, clothing, clothing accessories, craft supplies, games, puzzles, housewares, jewelry, paintings, pictures, frames, shoes, boots, and furniture. The thrift store does not accept broken items, car seats, chemicals, encyclopedias, firearms, grills, mattresses, medical equipment and supplies, or power tools.

The store has been popular from the start because of its offerings, its central location, and its sole motivation to help others.

“By collecting and reselling used clothes and goods, we are stewarding material resources, ‘clothing the naked,’ one of the seven corporal works of mercy, and helping families and individuals to stretch their hard-earned dollars a little further,” said Fr. Paul Dumais. “A thrift store affords families on a limited income to shop for necessities with dignity, while keeping within their budget.”

Those in need of emergency assistance are also served by the store at no cost.

“We’ve taken a number of what we would call emergency calls from people who are in crisis. They need food, clothing, rent assistance, fuel assistance,” said Crowe. “So, it also serves as a resource bank for parish social ministry staff to draw from when we need to provide clothes or other necessities for free to someone in need. We gladly use our donated items to help those who demonstrate need.”

When deciding to open the thrift store, the parish looked to the success of the St. Sebastian Thrift Shop in Madison and the St. Peter Thrift Store in Bingham, both part of Christ the King Parish. Crowe says one assurance they received from the operators of those stores was not to worry about getting enough donations, something that proved to be true.

“The generosity has been incredible. We’ve had such a generous response,” said Crowe.

Sorting through the donations is the work of volunteers like Jennifer Taylor from Wilton.

“If something is broken or missing parts and pieces or is stained beyond repair, that goes in the trash. The other items get hung on hangers, matched up according to size, and we give it a price tag,” said Taylor. “There have been a lot of people who have donated really nice clothing, name brands like L.L. Bean and Baby Gap and OshKosh, Carter’s, things that are really good, quality clothing. They are in great shape because, if you think about it, kids outgrow their clothing before they wear it out.”

From providing nourishment to those in need of food to offering warmth in the cold winter months, St. Rose of Lima Parish is defined by its focus on being a source of tangible assistance for any in need.

“We’re committed to doing good in the community,” said Max Becher, parish social ministry director for the parishes. “From Matthew 25, we are supposed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, visit the sick. This is part of our faith. It’s who we are.”

The thrift store has more than 20 volunteers but always welcomes interested parties who have spare time to help sort and shelf items or run the cash register. To volunteer, call Stephanie Crowe at 207-897-2173, ext. 1203.

 

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