by Jean I. Anderson
I like to explore resale shops, not only for bargains but for the imagined stories behind each donation. Maybe families are downsizing or planning a move; maybe a family member has been lost and houseware items are no longer needed; maybe someone has simply grown tired of whatever is being donated.
At the Family Tree Resale Shop, I discovered a new and worthy concept for bargain hunting and donating: charitable contributions for designated partners.
It works like this: People make donations to the shop in the name of a designated partner school or organization. Each month, tallies for each partner organization are made, and these groups receive vouchers to be distributed to needy individuals and families in their community. These vouchers are then spent as cash for shop items that are 75 to 90 percent below retail.
At this point, there are 10 partners: St. Matthias, Budlong and Peterson elementary schools, Swedish Covenant Hospital, The Friendship Center, Ethiopian Community Association, Apna Ghar, Oak Street Health, Friedman Place, and the Syrian Community Network.
Any school or organization can join at no cost. When items come into the store that cannot be sold, NOTHING is thrown into the garbage. Family Tree Resale works with two organizations — Shoes for Africa and Greenpeace — to pass along clothing and other items that are not sold in the store.
Since 2009, Family Tree Resale shops (there’s also a shop in Wheaton; read more about it) have donated $82,000 in vouchers — $4,100 over the past winter season alone. It is a registered Illinois charity trustee.
Go on an adventure! Check out this wonderful neighborhood shop that was conceived with the brilliant and generous idea to give to neighbors in need. Besides, with your donation, you receive a card granting you a 15 discount on purchases, excluding sale items. Happy hunting! Happy disposing!
Please join Forward Chicago at our Spring Series with a discussion about tidying up on Thursday, March 31, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Sulzer Library.