AMHERST – The Salvation Army thrift store is hoping some one out there will hear the call of their drum.
The thrift store is losing some volunteers and without replacements, the operational structure of the community-support business could change.
“I have three right now who have given me their notice,” Linda Clarke said. “One is a cashier, so we need someone with retail experience, and we’ll need people to help with sorting… But without cashiers we won’t be able to keep the store open. We’re in desperate need of people to run the cash register.”
Like a lot of volunteer organizations, the Salvation Army is witnessing how age can reduce its volunteer numbers. For the thrift store operation within the Salvation Army, that could mean a significant impact on its community services. The proceeds from the thrift store go back into the community in the form of assistance, Clarke said.
“I’d say there are about 20 requests a month. Higher in the winter time, fewer in the summer,” Clarke said. “They can be anything from home heating to food or clothing. Sometimes its just clothing. They don’t have enough for their kids, so we’ll give them clothing, but for heating we need the money we make from the thrift store.”
The Salvation Army has undergone a number of changes over the years to keep itself and its services in the community viable. When congregation numbers began to drop-off, the church moved its thrift store operations into the church from the downtown, reducing its local service to the third Sunday of the month with a potluck supper while continuing regular services in Springhill. The church also added a community soup kitchen, which Clarke says has all the volunteers it needs, leaving the thrift store the Salvation Army’s primary service in need of volunteers.
“Otherwise, we’ll have to look at part time store hours, and that would hurt resources,” Clarke said.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the thrift store can contact Clarke at 667-1574 or 667-5882. Volunteer applications are always available at the thrift store and, Clarke said, volunteering is an opportunity for anyone, young or old, to build their resume.