Friday, February 3, 2012

A Week of Salvation Army

In addition to being a stay at home mother, I also have the priviledge of holding a couple of other "jobs". I fill the roles of Sunday School teacher, Children's Church teacher, youth leader, and Girl Scout co-leader and cookie mom. I am very honored to be able to do these things, and feel it's my responsibility to help mold these young ladies and gentlemen into adults with a great moral compass. Therefore, I am always looking for ways to get them involved. I want them to leave my care knowing that God is beyond the doors of our church.  He is also out in the community with the worst our society has to offer. "Worst" is a strong word. Perhaps I should say poor, dirty, smelly, hungry, homeless, broken, tired, dejected, angry, lost, or hopeless. 

So, it was with great delight that I learned our scout troop would be working at the Salvation Army for a couple of hours earlier this week.  We are currently working on our Bronze Award. Everyone's heard of the Boy Scout Eagle Award, right?  The Bronze is sort of like that.  It's actually the first of three prestigious awards you can earn as a Girl Scout.  To earn it, the girls must do 20 hours of work. Part of this time they will spend building something that helps their community in some way, the other part they have to spend volunteering.

We showed up not knowing what to expect. The nine of us, six girls and three adults (myself included), were quickly put to work. We sorted clothes, hung them up, and put them on the sales floor. I know this may not seem like much, but we got tons done! The ladies at the SA were so greatful and so kind to the girls.  I even learned some cool facts.

The neatest thing I learned was that they use everything you donate.  It may not all go to the store, but it will all get used, so don't be scared to donated anything.  The lady I was talking with actually said, "Don't feel bad about donating stuff that isn't great, we use it all." If things are holey or stained, bring it on.  They put those things aside and either sale them as rags for $10 a bag or they get baled and sold to a company that sends them overseas.

I was very proud of our girls.  Some of them came in not even knowing how to hang things up! I'm not talking about some fancy retail way of doing it...they didn't know how to put any kind of clothing on any kind of hanger. I was shocked, but they sure as heck knew how to when they left! That's kind of a non-official motto of Girl Scouts, "Leave things better than you found them." I know that means clean up your mess and then some, but I also think it can mean something more personal.

My girls! :-)

Naturally, being a female with a retail background, I have an eye for a good deal.  I couldn't help but window shop a little while I was there.  I used to refuse to shop at thrift stores.  I felt bad for buying good clothes at rock bottom prices when there were so many people that needed them.  But then I realized that by shopping in these stores I was actually helping them. They money I used to pay for clothes and other things goes to pay utlities, rent, and buy food.  And as you can see from the photo above, they have plenty! They quicker they can sell them, the quicker they can process all of those donations.

Ever since the holidays they been blessed with many donations. Thanks to this, all the clothes have been $1.  David went in a couple off weeks ago and got a great suit...for a dollar! We went to shop on Thursday while our crazy little man was at school and left $50 poorer, but with a shopping basket full.

Some of our finds include: Lots of tops for our puppet ministry (we have 10 kids at church making their own puppets), a fine dress and shoes for Hannah, dress shirts for David, red high tops for Joel (a little too large but he loves them so much!), a pair of brand new Keens that I am going to give to a little girl at church (expensive sandals...I got em for 75 cents!), and several shirts to support my new hobby (making cardigans out of tshirts).

 I've saved my two greatest finds for last. I've even taken pics because I love them so. First off, I spotted this little beauty as I was about done for the day. I truly think it was meant to be.

A vintage 1970s burnt orange jacket.  I have a style that is all my own. If it's funky, I'll love it. Well, what can get any funkier than an orange polyester jacket from the 70s? It has a lighter orange sister that I purchased also, but I love this one the best.  I found some crazy green high heeled loafers, got those too. 

My next fab find was a slighty used but still working bread maker for $8.  We had one years ago and loved it.  We moved around so much back then. Evidently we started some bread one day, forgot about it, moved, found the machine (and bread).  Needless to's never been the same.  We talked just a few days ago about buying a new one. I don't know who was more excited about this, bargain hunter me or bread addict David.  I made my first loaf today and it was fantastic!!

Joel put David in time out for touching the hot loaf.
He can hardly wait.

The moral to my story is this, step out of your comfort zone, volunteer and you'll be rewarded!!

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