COVID-19 shut it down, but this Ann Arbor nonprofit was still handing on
ANN ARBOR, MI – COVID-19 has closed it for more than a year, but the Kiwanis Thrift Sale Store is ready to start operations again.
Although the Kiwanis Thrift Sale closed in March 2020, the Kiwanis Club donated around $ 130,000 worth of thrift items to Ann Arbor Foundation Inc., the nonprofit that brings money from business back to the community, last year.
Now it is ready to reopen its doors on April 3rd.
“We were giving away to social service organizations and other charities that may have their own thrift stores or their distributors,” said Dan Dever, chairman of the Kiwanis Thrift Sale Oversight Committee. “We were able to continue to support the community. That includes winter coats, blankets, and all those things that go to agencies to help the public out. “
The Kiwanis Thrift Sale began as a browsing through the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor in the 1920s. The group bought their first building at 200 S. First St. in 1966. From the start, the proceeds from the sale were returned to the community through grants, scholarships and gifts.
“We’ve given over $ 7.5 million since 1921,” said Dever. “Right before COVID, we were basically spending $ 644,000 in money and dropping goods out directly.”
The foundation now owns a 123,000 square foot building at 100 N. Staebler Road in Ann Arbor that offers buyers a variety of clothing and household items.
The store closed last spring to bring the safety and prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in the community via revenue, Dever said. It was open for seven weeks between September and October but closed again when COVID-19 cases surfaced in Michigan, Dever said.
“When we couldn’t open it meant we had no income, which limited our ability to give back to the community,” said Dever. “But we still had a lot of goods and were still at the point where we got goods. So we opened up to free distribution to community agencies.”
The Ann Arbor Foundation, Inc.’s Kiwanis Club also donated $ 75,000 to support local agencies that served the needs of the community during the pandemic.
Donations included $ 20,000 each to Food Gatherers of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County’s Shelter Association, and Ypsilanti’s Hope Clinic, and $ 15,000 to Washtenaw County’s Foundations Preschool, a nonprofit agency serving low-income households Offers childcare.
When the store reopens on April 3rd, all customers must wear a mask and be three feet apart. The store’s capacity is more than 450, but it won’t allow more than 150 customers at a time, Dever said.
“We’re reopening primarily due to a change in COVID-19 trends,” said Dever. “You have more vaccinations. They have opening regulations (and) reduced infection rates. We believe we can reopen (safely) to our own employees, including volunteers, and to our customers. “
Along with its reopening, the store is launching an ongoing grocery promotion for food gatherers, Devers said.
“We’re going to be a collection point and then we’re going to take that food and make sure food gatherers get it. Eating is a problem for a large number of people in the current situation. “Devers said.
Kiwanis Thrift Sale is only open 9am to 1pm on Saturdays and is currently not accepting item donations due to a full inventory.
Please visit the Kiwanis Thrift Sale website for more information.
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