Thrift and Gift Shop to celebrate 46 years
By Dawn Burleigh
ORANGE – A shop run by volunteers will celebrate 46 years of helping seniors supplement their income and friendships.
Thrift and Gift Shop, 350 37th Street in Orange, is run by a group of senior citizens who organized the gathering as a non-profit in 1973 as a way to give seniors a way to supplement their incomes and preserve crafts that have long been a part of American households such as quilting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, woodworking, painting and jewelry making.
A lesser-known objective when they originally organized was to foster harmony between the races in Orange.
A former president of the organization, Wyonna Nance, now of Cypress, returns to the shop three times a year with floral arrangements.
“She brings Spring, Fall and Christmas arrangements,” Nelda Allbritton said.
“She does such beautiful work,” Mary Holland added.
The store has many unique gift items available including dressed bears, vintage jewelry, collectible dolls, and antique glassware.
The shop has proven quite successful throughout the years and has been supported by an appreciative community.
The shop was originally located in downtown Orange. The first location is now the parking lot for the Lutcher Theater. The second home was also on 5th Street in an older building that deteriorated over the years, forcing the store to look for a new location after 30 years.
Pat and Glenn Putnam, Velma Geter, Iris Allen, and Inez Hubbard were among the early organizers of the shop. At one time, they also cooked and served a noon meal, mostly for businessmen, when the establishment was located on 5th Street.
Many felt the closing of the location was the end for the establishment. Pat Putnam was determined to keep the doors open.
Putnam found space in the old Salk School building after the property was purchased by PLAN, another organization she supported. The wing, which houses the store, was remolded with the help of volunteers and a grand opening was held in September of 2003.
Kay Nuss, office manager, has volunteered at the shop since the second week the shop moved to the current location.
In Putnam’s honor, the store continues to donate clothes to ministries, such as Leap of Faith Ministries in Mauriceville. Leap of Faith Ministries gathers scriptures and clothes from several locations including Thrift and Gift and delivers them to areas in need such as Mexico and flooded areas of Mississippi.
The shop has also given support to the organization of Heritage Center and Putnam Place.
While there is not an age requirement for volunteering at the shop, one must be 55 or older in order to become a vendor. Guidelines and requirements are available by request at the register.
Thrift and Gift Shop is open 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tues. – Fri. as well as the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
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