Donations help shop raise money for CaRES


If the thrift shop Katherine Smith opened in September succeeds in its mission of raising money for the Cancer Resource and Support Center she founded four years ago, she knows she'll have plenty of people to thank.

From business computer printers to housewares, exercise equipment and stereos to clothing and books, the shop is geared to consumers with an eye for bargains.

Dozens of individuals, groups and businesses have helped get the shop off the ground, through a mass of donations that, Ms. Smith says, "just blow my mind."

Members of the Kiwanis of Central Anne Arundel County painted and helped fix up the shop. Marley Station mall invited her to take items from vacant stores, such as clothing racks.

Even the company she leases the space from, Mid Atlantic Realty Trust, "have been very nice and helped out, giving us a good deal on the lease agreement."

A recent donation from Ryland Homes came as quite a surprise to Ms. Smith. When the company changed its logo, all the promotional material using the old logo had to go. The husband of a CaRES volunteer got the company to donate all that might normally have been discarded -- including pads, paper binders, folders, golf umbrellas, pens, pencils and pocket calculators.

"A truck came pulling up one day with some 800 pounds of donated items," Ms. Smith said. "They also donated $10,000."

Not that the shop couldn't use even more donations -- especially of time. Because it is staffed by volunteers, Ms. Smith said, "it's difficult to get people to cover all the time slots. We can always use more volunteers.

"That way, it would be easier to schedule people for the three-hour shifts we like to maintain."

The shop occupies 1,900 square feet at Patriots Plaza in Pasadena, just north of Jumpers Hole Road.

Considering the relatively short time the shop has been open, Ms. Smith is delighted it has shown a profit of $5,000.

Just like any retail operation, sales and specials are a staple to get the public inside. Each month, the shop holds weeklong, half-price sales. In January. there will be a special on men's clothing.

Ms. Smith invites patrons to visit the CaRES office, across the parking lot on the bottom floor of the Patriot's Plaza Office building. "It's great to have the CaRES office so close to the shop," she said. "People can visibly see what they are making a donation to."

CaRES addresses the emotional and social needs of cancer patients and their families by providing free support groups and workshops, as well as a place where they can come to share experiences and concerns.

Many of the services offered by CaRES, including the monthly lectures, are open to anyone.

Although most of what people see in the CaRES offices has been donated, it takes money to provide all the services CaRES offers free. It's so easy to get things" she says. "It's the money that is the problem."

The thrift shop is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Monday through Saturday and until 7 p.m. Thursday. Arrangements can be made for making donations by contacting 760-2273.

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