STRAIGHT TALK: Onekama Thrift Shop gives back to community

Volunteers of the Onekama Guild Thrift Shop celebrate a successful year in donations to community organizations. (Courtesy photo)

Volunteers of the Onekama Guild Thrift Shop celebrate a successful year in donations to community organizations. (Courtesy photo)

ONEKAMA — For decades, the Onekama Thrift Shop on Main Street has given back to the community in numerous ways.

From donating clothing to raising money to fund local programs, the Onekama Thrift Shop has many guild members dedicated to working with others and creating a safe community for all people.

Peggy Green, Onekama Guild Thrift Shop president, recently talked with the News Advocate about the organization’s long-standing purpose in the community and how it uses its donations.

MNA: What is the Onekama Thrift Shop? What is the main mission it carries?

GREEN: The Onekama Thrift Shop is a nonprofit, and all of the money is generated from our thrift store within Manistee County. We were originally the Old Memorial Hospital Guild many, many years ago. The organization, as I understand it, is over 50 years old.

MNA: When do you meet as an organization? What is talked about at meetings?

GREEN: We meet at 1 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month at our center. We are always open to new members to the guild, whether they are male or female. Our dues per year are $1. At this next one, we have an appreciation dinner in September. We will be deciding still where we are going for that. Our meetings we decide where our donations are going to go. We usually do our donations in October, and again in February.

MNA: Where does the thrift store donate to?

GREEN: We support the backpack food program both at Casper, Mich., and Onekama. We support Homeward Bound Animal Shelter, we give physical donations of stock that we either cannot use or do anything with to either Goodwill or Love Inc. We also donate maternity clothes and bigger stuff that we can’t use to Manistee Lighthouse Pregnancy Care Center. We support both the Bear Lake and Onekama food banks, the Onekama PLA program and the summer music program and we are open on Monday nights specifically for that. Whatever we generate from that we donate back to the music program to keep the music in the park going.

MNA: How are items donated? Are donations made monetarily? 

GREEN: It depends on the organization, what we have got and what would work better for them. Northern Pathways Equine Center is in the market for hay. We give to disabled veterans, they are in the market for gas for transportation of veterans. Some of the money goes back to our organization.

MNA: How are items received? What type of items are donated?

GREEN: Everything is entirely by donation. What we can’t use will be passed on to other organizations. Some items are clothing, appliances, dishes, jewelry, pictures and other small items like shoes or purses. We just don’t have the room for the furniture. we don’t accept electronics because we don’t test them the way they should be. We have a box in the back of the store where they can drop off donations anytime, when we are open. We can make arrangements if they call to set up a meeting time.

MNA: When is the shop open? 

GREEN: Our shop is usually open from Thursday before Memorial weekend, through the October fall festival in Onekama. We don’t have heat in the building so it gets cold in here, but the core group of people do work year-round with donations.

MNA: How much work goes into making sure everything runs smoothly? 

GREEN: There’s usually someone always checking the donation box or checking the back door seven days a week. We work in three hour shifts when the store is open, so we do not take up someone’s whole day. We are really in need of new members, and anyone can join in the county.

MNA: What kind of service do you think this provides to the community?

GREEN: In case of a fire, we open our store to the people who suffered from the fire up to three changes of clothes per member of the family, bedding and whatever they need to get back on their feet. Monetary donations help fund other organizations within the county, that’s one of our biggest things is we keep all of our donations within Manistee County. We are helping our own. Just last weekend we had a sale with adult clothing at 25 cents per item, and we had a lady come in and buy coats for homeless shelters.

Pet supplies we take to Homeward Bound Animal Shelter. We get a lot of donations; we are overwhelmed sometimes. We just make sure we pass on what we can’t use to other organizations so they can put them to use. Over the weekend, we got a big donation and we are going to take it to Goodwill. Clothes that we can’t use, other organizations can bundle them up to use for fabrics that is salvageable. We can’t sell a stained shirt, but they can use it for something else.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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