Arnolia thrift shop turns donated items into gold for families in need

That gently used skirt may help a family keep its lights on. An old, framed picture might put food on the table for a senior citizen.

Last week, the pending holiday season had a small band of volunteers busy prepping items at the Arnolia United Methodist Thrift Shop, in Parkville, where donations of clothes and household items are turned into help for others ... and pretty good buys, too.

The thrift shop recently marked its first anniversary. Priscilla Calvert, a Perry Hall resident and volunteer outreach coordinator for Arnolia, said it has quickly become a center of activity for the church — and a source of funds to help the church's community mission.

Proceeds from the store go to Arnolia's Out Reach Program, which helps residents of greater Parkville and Carney with issues such as evictions, utility cut-offs, shortages of food or school supplies and other special requests. According to the church website, in 2011 the program served close to 200 individuals in the community, from single parents to grandparents raising grandchildren. 

Last week, Calvert and several church volunteers sorted, displayed and moved items to get ready for the holidays, when they know families will be in need.

The store sells used clothing, shoes, jewelry, household items and decorative items. Calvert said local families, church members and local businesses are generous with their donations. "Many clothes are new, with tags on them," she said.

Arnolia welcomes donations any time of year. Calvert said items that the shop can't sell are eventually donated to Manna House, an agency for the homeless in Baltimore city.

The Arnolia United Methodist Thrift Shop is located at 1776 E. Joppa Road, in the church, and is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday and Thursday, and also on the second Saturday of each month. For details, call 410-529-3806.

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