The volunteers at the Cottage Thrift Store in downtown Mission all seem to have the same thing in common – they enjoy helping the community.
The store – which sells used products ranging from furniture to housewares, toys to clothing – helps raise funds to benefit the Mission Memorial Hospital.
The volunteers are all part of the Mission Health Care Auxiliary Society who help provide non-medical services and comforts to the patients of the hospital.
“We operate on donations. All the people who work here are volunteers,” explained Jacquie Crowther, conveyor of the Cottage.
Because it is run by volunteers, all the money made, outside of rent and utilities, goes to hospital.
Crowther said the store has been running since 1969 and there is at least one volunteer who has been involved since the very beginning.
“They do it because they care. They care about the hospital. And, it’s fun. You get out and you meet people.”
The Cottage accepts most items including housewares, clothing, furniture and other household items, but they do have a list of things they don’t take, for a variety of reasons.
Located in the heart of the downtown core (33228 First Ave.) the store receives plenty of foot traffic.
“We like being downtown. Parking is always a challenge, but there is a clientele down here,” said Crowther.
The Health Care Auxiliary Society has approximately 117 volunteers, and about 53 of them work in the store. Other volunteers work directly at the hospital.
Sandra McPhee volunteers her time at the store as a way to give back. She said her husband spent a lot of time in the hospital, so it feels nice to help out.
Crowther said most of the volunteers are seniors, some are even in their 80s.
She said many of them are working retail for the first time.
“For some people who come here, it’s an experience to work in retail. They learn a lot of new skills.”
Others prefer to work in the back, sorting and cleaning items in preparation for sale.
The store is open six days a week, closed on Sundays, and is always looking for more people to help out.
Anyone can stop by and pick up an application to become a volunteer and help others.