by marlys good
“Volunteers” was the quick, one-word answer of Alice Williams, manager of the Community Outreach thrift shop, when asked what was most needed at the thrift shop.
Just one regular volunteer works in the “back room” processing (sorting, cleaning, sizing and pricing the dozens of donated articles). “We could use two more,” Williams said.
The shelves are well stocked at the present time, although Williams said they could use children’s clothing (especially 4 through youth sizes), children’s shoes, and men’s jeans sizes 30-36.
“We try to keep quality clothing on the floor,” Williams said. “If it doesn’t pass the ‘floor test’ we put it aside for local churches and the Salvation Army who bring a truck and trailer over from Sheridan once a month. What they don’t/can’t use or distribute is baled and sent to Third World countries.”
She admits that despite careful screening, once in a while some clothing that is shelved, or hanging, has a pin-point hole or small stain on it but that is rare.
The store reaches into communities far beyond Greybull. There are a lot of regular customers who love coming in to look for bargains/treasures; they have farm help who come in and outfit the entire family, from the inside out. All are welcome.
Alice said, “We can always use bedding, sheets, quilts…. This winter we had people coming in begging for quilts,” she explained.
A lot of people don’t realize that all medical supplies in the store are free. This includes everything from walkers to canes, to shower/bath seats.
Although the pantry is well stocked, donations of non-perishable food and paper products are always welcome. Shelves can be depleted fast when cold weather hits.
The fenced, gated area in back of the store continues to be used by some as a dumping ground. Just last week someone left a large screen television that had been “gutted,” and a cat-riddled couch. “They were nothing but garbage,” Williams said, which means the thrift shop has to pay to have them disposed of.
They have a man who comes in two hours every weekday to check and clear the fenced in area and a board member(s) checks in every weekend (the store is closed Friday through Monday) and puts all donations inside the locked gate.
The afternoon we visited the well-equipped, neat-as-a-pin store, there were teenagers browsing through the music section, a couple with six or seven children’s books tucked under their arms, a woman checking out the blouse/tops, and another with a basket of odds and ends ready to be checked out.
Everything was sparkling clean, right down to the shelves holding a wide variety of knick-knacks and collectibles.
Anyone who wants to make a difference can volunteer at the thrift shop to be a “processor” in the back room. Williams said, “We need regular volunteers who can be called on to come in and help when needed.”