Courtesy of Ellicott City resident Ann Marie Krahe, I just learned of a store tucked away off Route 40 that is a hidden gem — Christian Services of Howard County Thrift Store.

Located at 3267 Pine Orchard Lane in Ellicott City, the store sells donated household items, clothing and furniture at nominal prices. Staffed by volunteers from 28 area churches, the thrift store proceeds are used to aid people in our county with rent, mortgages, utilities, food and special needs.


This is no ordinary thrift store. Clothing is meticulously organized on round store racks by size and color. Household items such as crystal and dish ware are beautifully arranged to rival department stores showcases.

Volunteer Mary Ann Miller told me she regularly sees Waterford crystal, designer labels and formal dresses for weddings, homecomings and proms at the store.

On my visit to the store last week, I spotted a woman's black quilted Chanel purse, three woman's Coach bags, First Communion and christening outfits, a large three seat couch, a fish tank, brand new home air filters, racks of clothes, a plethora of children's toys and so much more.

For over 47 years, this nonprofit organization has been working with county and state agencies to help Howard Countians in crisis.

Open to the public, the store hours are Tuesdays, Thursdays and the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Donations — new or gently worn but laundered clothing, shoes, toys, books, furniture, games, housewares, clothing accessories, bedding, jar or can foods — can be dropped off during store hours. The store does not accept old "picture tube" TV's and PC monitors, dirty or worn clothing, old appliances, stained bedding, broken furniture or leftovers from yard sales.

For more information about Christian Services thrift store go to their blog spot at or contact them at or at 410-465-1060. If you would like to volunteer at the store, contact your the Christian Services coordinator at your church.

It's almost time for the Howard County Library System's annual gala Evening in the Stacks on Sat., Feb. 22 at  7 p.m. at the Ellicott City Miller Branch. This year the library gala is going "Vintage Vegas!" with a retro evening of glitz complete with show girls, casino tables, specialty cocktails, live music by Chairmen of the Board and celebrity bartenders.

The gala will feature New York Times best selling author Chris Bohjalian in a conversation with Ron Charles of the Washington Post.  Mr. Bohjalian is the critically acclaimed author of 16 books, including nine New York Times bestsellers. To purchase tickets, go to