New thrift shop-like program helps families in need

Local News

A new program to get surplus donations from big retail stores to families in need is finding early success in Erie.

It’s a program successfully addressing an important question; why throw things away if there are people out there who can really use them?

It may look like a typical thrift shop, but when you take a closer look, the customers are 15 non-profit agencies who have signed up to buy goods at deep discounts for those in need.

Director of the Veterans Miracle Center John Kowalczyk tells us, “Everything here is to give to the community for those who have a need; not those who have a want but those who have a need.”

All of the goods in this shop have been donated from Big Box stores like Walmart, cost overruns, discontinued items, but instead of going to the landfill, they’re going to some of Erie’s neediest families.

It’s a great program for people like Kelly Stoller of the Neighborhood Art House, who serves 300 kids, many in need of even the basic items like clothes and toys.

She says, “You can’t just describe that type of feeling that a child has that they can bring something one was given to them as a gift.”

That kind of excitement can be felt across the people involved in this program, caused by finding good uses for things that might otherwise be thrown away.

It will be fun to watch this program grow in the coming months…

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