St. Vincent de Paul thrift store provides valuable service

Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette While furniture is an important resource for the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, clothing is among the most purchased item. The store offers a wide variety of items to help families in need after tradegies like fires, or students who have moved out of the dorms and are looking for ways to save on costs while attending classes.

HANCOCK — Tucked away at 204 Quincy Street in Hancock, the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store offers much more than just discounted items for sale.

St. Vinny’s, as it is commonly known, takes in items of all shapes and sizes from those looking to donate, and then offers them back to the community at a fraction of the cost if the item was new.

They also offer funds to assist those in need, as necessary.

St. Vinny’s doesn’t just serve the Catholic community, despite being a Catholic organization. They offer their services to everyone in the greater Houghton

With spring just around the corner, St. Vincent volunteers are ready to assist local homeowners and renters with spring cleaning. If you have any items such as chests of drawers or beds, St. Vinny’s is a great place to send them, as they will help the furniture find a new home.

“We do offer pickups,” said Carla Johsnon. “I try to keep it more to furniture than just going out for random stuff, because the furniture is where the money is. But, if people happen to have the other stuff when they (the volunteers) go to get the furniture, we do take it.

“Furniture is the money, of course, for our organization, but I will say that the vast majority of what we sell is the clothing.”

St. Vincent volunteers drive all around the Copper Country to pick up items that people want to donate. They are even willing to travel as far as Copper Harbor or Twin Lakes, if need be.

With a wide variety of everything in the building from clothing to furniture, the store can be an important stop for families, or even college students, who lose large amounts of items due to fires or flooding. Johnson was proud, recently, to help out the Michigan Tech students who recently lost their home in downtown Houghton to a fire.

“When we had those fires, we do put it out there for them to come in and get help,” Johnson said. “I did have some of the boys from the fire over in Houghton (stop by). They did come by and take advantage of that. I mean, it’s here. Then you got your money to spend on other stuff that you really do need.”

Oftentimes, when a family has suffered through a traumatic event like a house fire, they aren’t even sure what they need first, Johnson said.

“A lot of times, they’re not even sure what they need,” she said, “because they need so much. I’m happy that we’re here, and we’re able to help. We can get them going with just your basic immediate needs. You aren’t even gonna know for a while how much you take for granted.

“I am very proud that we’re able to be here.”

Johnson also enjoys when customers come into the store and are hit with a wave of nostalgia.

“They’ll see it, and find it, and say, ‘I remember when I was a kid,’ and then they have to have it,” she said.

St. Vinny’s takes donations Wednesdays through Saturdays. They utilize Mondays and Tuesdays to sort through their donations.

“If you’ve ever walked down in our basement, you’ll see why I need a catchup day” Johnson said. “It gets overwhelming by midsummer. I just don’t know where to go anymore, but without that, we couldn’t do what we do. If we didn’t have the folks supporting us; we are so appreciative of all of them too.”

Johnson is proud to be an important part of the community.

“I really want to reiterate the thankfulness that we have for our shoppers and for our donors, because we couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

Johnson has a special message for volunteers and donors:

“Thank you for helping us help others. We couldn’t do it if we didn’t get the donations. We couldn’t do it if we didn’t get the people in here to buy it. We couldn’t do it. It’s all got to work together.”


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