The Germantown Thrift Shop, located at 101 E. Chelten Ave., raises funds for the Whosoever Gospel Mission and provides real-life workforce development training for the men who are enrolled in the New Life Rehabilitation and Job Readiness program.
For the men at the mission the thrift shop has acted as a stepping stone by providing real-life training. It has also made its presence known within the surrounding community over the span of many years.
In 2011, the Germantown Thrift Shop provided thousands of pieces of used clothing to over 1,600 people in need and more than half of them were children, said Heather Rice, program coordinator of the thrift shop.
The mission also reaches out to people in need who are referred by agencies like the Salvation Army, the Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry and the Germantown office of State Rep. John Myers. In return, the thrift shop does its best to provide people with free clothing.
The Germantown Thrift Shop gets about 10 tons of clothing donated a week from individual community members during its drop-off hours, which are from 9:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It also schedules about 200 pickups a week from surrounding zip codes where two of the mission’s trucks go out and bring back what has been collected for that day.
Rice explained that the Germantown Thrift Shop has become an integral part of the community and is used as a center point for many local residents.
“People need it as a presence in the community,” Rice said. “When we were gone for some time we were told that the area just got a little rougher because the foot traffic wasn’t there anymore. It has become a place where people connect.”