A second Thrift Store is coming to Vanderhoof but Captain Neil Wilkinson, Corps Officer / Pastor for The Salvation Army, is not worried about the new store in any way having a negative impact on the existing thrift store already in town.
“The other thrift store is operated by Neighbourlink, and it’s our intention to support and compliment one another; certainly not to compete in any way,” said Wilkinson.
“We both approach our work from the perspective of Christian ministry, and our goal is to be inclusive, not exclusive in our relationship.”
The Salvation Army was actually invited by the District of Vanderhoof to come to the community back on November of 2016 and Wilkinson said that the organization is thrilled to be able finally be in the position to accept that invitation.
The Thrift Store is located at the east end of the mall across the parking lot from Co-op Building Supplies and, although they are not yet open to the public, they are accepting donations of gently used toys, gardening equipment, housewares, furniture, appliances, and clothing.
Funds derived from the sale of the material will all stay within Vanderhoof and have a direct impact on individuals, families, and children in need in the community, according to Wilkinson.
And, to further motivate donations, when you drop off your donations you will receive a discount coupon for purchases you make in the Thrift Store.
“A big part of what we are doing has to do with recycling,” explained Wilkinson. “We have an electronic stewardship program in which we recycle any non-working electronics. We also take metal and textiles which, if they aren’t suitable for resale (that t-shirt from the 1985 Motley Crüe concert, for example), and we sell those textiles to one of 12 businesses that deal with converting those textiles to cellulose insulation.”
Wilkinson takes a great deal of pride in the recycling aspect of the Thrift Store business model, and said that people should realize how much of what is going to the landfills actually can find a second life after being recycled.
“Last year, in Prince George, we recycled 1.49 million pounds of textiles,” he said.
Beyond the recycling initiatives and the day to day operation of the Thrift Store, the Salvation Army will also to engage in a number of initiatives within the community, including attending to housing issues, addictions recovery initiatives, spiritual care ministries, and collaboration with other support services to provide leadership and communications expertise to those agencies.
They will also provide visitation to those who are in hospital over the Christmas season and visitations to seniors homes as well.
The mission of The Salvation Army Vanderhoof is, “To serve God by serving humanity and working together,” said Wilkinson.
The Thrift store will be welcoming shoppers with a “Soft opening” just as soon as they receive enough donations to stock their shelves, but the official opening is slated for May 31.
The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country. The organization’s mandate is to gives hope and support to vulnerable people in 400 communities across Canada and more than 120 countries around the world.
There are currently 67 Salvation Army Thrift Stores operating in B.C.