Retail Therapy at its Best
Charitable thrift stores give back to the community
Writer & Photographer: Felicia Mumbert | Fall-Winter Edition 2022
If finding unique items, saving money, helping the community and being eco-friendly appeal to you, then make plans to check out these Southern Maryland thrift stores.
Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties offer several thrift store options that contribute back to the community by providing food, shelter, financial assistance and much more for less fortunate families and individuals.
Not only will you find a great selection of previously owned merchandise in good condition at low prices, but every time you make a purchase you are making an impact on the lives of those in need.
The stores sell an assortment of clothing, jewelry, housewares, linens, toys, small appliances and more. You’ll find a great assortment of everyday items as well as one-of-a-kind items that would be difficult to find in a retail store. The secret to finding the extraordinary is to shop these stores often to see the collection of the latest donated items.
If you are looking to clear the clutter from your house, you too can help the less fortunate in the community.
As we say goodbye to summer and prepare our homes for fall and winter, it’s the perfect time and weather to clean out your closets, cabinets, garages and attics. Donate your treasures to one of these charity thrift stores.
Clearing clutter is good for your mental health, finances, as well as the environment. Not only are donations tax deductible but buying a previously owned item saves on the resources it took to make it and reduces the burden on the landfill.
What follows is a list of locally owned and operated thrift stores whose profits benefit those in need in Southern Maryland.
GO GREEN THRIFT STORES
Go Green Thrift Stores are dedicated to reducing the number of reusable items in landfills. They work in partnership with LifeStyles of Maryland Foundation to help those in need of items essential for “starting over.”
LifeStyles helps people across Southern Maryland with services that include health and wellness, medical screenings, vaccine coordination, as well as life skill and workforce training and development. The organization also provides food, clothing and hygiene essentials to the homeless and underserved.
Shoppers will find a selection of clothing, shoes, accessories, household items, furniture, kitchenware, toys, books, DVDs/CDs, décor, medical equipment and toys. Walk-in donations are accepted at two locations with no appointment necessary.
The Bryans Road location (3075 Marshall Hall Road) is open 10am-7pm Monday-Saturday and 10am-5pm Sunday. The Lexington Park location (21779 Tulagi Place) is open from 10am-5:30pm Monday-Friday and 10am-5pm Saturday.
To donate large items, call to schedule pickup at 301-375-6213 or 301-737-1234. Currently pickups are on Wednesdays or Saturdays. Tax-deductible donations of cars, trucks and boats are welcome. Learn more at gogreenthriftstore.com.
HOOKS & HANGERS
Hooks & Hangers uses profits from its two thrift stores to provide programs for people with disabilities through the Spring Dell Center.
Locations in La Plata (Hawthorne Shopping Center at 6241 Crain Highway) and Charlotte Hall (29940 Three Notch Road) serve as training centers that teach work skills to individuals with disabilities. The center has a day program which currently assists 200 adults each day. Hooks & Hangers is partially staffed with some of the individuals they support. Spring Dell also provides multiple residential homes where some of the adults they support reside full time.
You’ll be sure to leave Hooks & Hangers with some exciting finds. The furniture section has a wonderful area of antiques. Toward the front entrance shoppers will find an array of books, and the organized selection of clothing will keep you hunting for hours.
Hooks & Hangers accepts items that are in good, clean resalable condition. Not accepted are sleeper sofas, large appliances, console televisions/stereos, exercise equipment, mattress/box springs, water beds and other items that are torn, ripped or stained.
Donations accepted 10am-5:30pm Monday-Friday and 9am-4:30pm Saturday. For more information, call 301-274-3711 or 301-934-6184 or go to hooksandhangers.org.
Vintage Values stores are owned and operated by The Center of Life Enrichment, with locations in Leonardtown (25995 Point Lookout Road), Lexington Park (22762 Three Notch Road) and Prince Frederick (98B Solomons Island Road).
Proceeds reinforce the center and its mission of sustaining individuals with disabilities. The mission is to implement programs and support services that will increase the vocational and personal potential of people with disabilities.
TCLE provides these services to more than 200 people in a unique and individualized manner to enhance overall quality of life. Increased independence, integration into the workforce and the opportunity for social interaction is the focal core of the center’s services.
The services provide a safe environment that encourages growth and self-expression.
Each store has a home goods department near the front entrance with one-of-a-kind quality pieces of décor. Numerous clothing racks are filled with casual and dress clothes for children, men and women. There is also a wide assortment of kitchen appliances and electronics.
Store hours and donation times vary for each store. Call 301-475-8545, 240-237-8120 or 443-975-7161 or go to tcle.org for more information.
SMILE THRIFT STORE
SMILE = Service Makes Individual Lives Exciting.
The nonprofit represents the churches in southern Calvert County where people of all denominations work together to provide food, clothing and other forms of assistance to those in need.
Sales from the thrift store (10290 HG Trueman Road in Lusby) are the foundation of support that makes the food pantry and all other SMILE services possible. It has made possible an emergency assistance program, which helps SMILE members with emergencies with utility bills, rent, mortgage, prescriptions and other life necessities. Children of registered clients may be eligible to receive a seasonal clothing allowance, SMILE Thanksgiving basket, emergency financial assistance and help to avoid foreclosure.
During the past year, SMILE Food Pantry served more than 10,000 people with 186,000 pounds of food. This is equivalent to more than 155,000 meals.
In the thrift store you’ll find furniture, electronics, clothing, home décor, toys, exercise equipment and much more. Organized sections with labeled areas help make shopping a breeze. Clothing is steamed before being hung up, a designer bag section is beautifully displayed on a shelf, washed and shined kitchen dishes, mugs and silver wear, and previously owned shoes are examined for tears and cleaned before placed on the sales floor.
Around the back portion of the thrift store is an outdoor area displaying furniture and outdoor items. Another area nearby includes children’s toys and home décor.
SMILE accepts donations 10am-1:15pm Wednesday-Friday and 9-11:15am Saturday. Donations of canned and packaged foods at the food pantry are taken during these hours as well. Every donation is sifted through with quality control before placed on the sales floor. Items that are in bad condition, stained or damaged are not accepted.
Call 410-326-009 or go to smileinc.org for more information.
PROJECT ECHO THRIFT
Every item donated and dollar spent at Project Echo Thrift (885 Main St. in Prince Frederick) goes to support its mission of supporting the homeless.
Project Echo’s 90-day program gives homeless individuals the opportunity to sustain his or her life and offers many supplemental programs to strengthen their personal growth and independence. Providing a residence room and meals with a clean and safe environment for those in need.
Services also include one-on-one life counseling, GED tutoring, education, and referral to services. With the support of the community and sales at Project Echo Thrift, they’re able to help people make changes in their lives.
The friendly, upbeat volunteers make it a wonderful experience to shop at Project Echo. This thrift store is a hidden gem in Prince Fredrick. Inside, you’ll find separate rooms displaying different sections for clothing, kitchen goods, home décor, children’s toys and books, electronics and furniture.
All donations can be delivered directly to the shop including gently used clothing, household items and small furniture. Donation hours are 10am-2pm Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, however they are subject to change based upon space and availability. If you have large items or a large quantity of items, call ahead to ensure they’re able to accept the delivery.
Call 443-975-7376 or go to projectecho.net for more information.
SHOPPE FOR HOSPICE
All proceeds of the Shoppe for Hospice benefit Calvert Hospice which provides quality end-of-life care and support. Enriching the quality of life for its clients with expert and compassionate care is the mission of Calvert Hospice.
The Shoppe for Hospice (92 Central Square Drive in Prince Frederick) is a slightly used boutique that returns 100% of the profit aside from running expenses back into hospice programs such as care, bereavement groups and community grief counseling.
This upscale thrift store carefully selects name brand used items to sell. A lovely selection of jewelry is displayed near the front entrance that grabs your attention. Along with jewelry, there is a beautiful selection of accessories, shoes and clothing that fill the space. Lace, silk and beaded wedding and prom gowns also catch your attention in the women’s clothing section.
Name-brand women’s and men’s clothing, shoes, hats, jewelry and other accessories in gently worn condition are accepted 10am-5pm Monday-Thursday, 10am-3pm Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday. Undergarments, swimwear, sleepwear, gym clothing or housewares of any kind are not accepted. Two bags allowed per person.
Call 443-432-3561 or go to calverthospice.org/shoppe-for-hospice for more information.
SECOND CHANCE THRIFT STORE
Hidden in the back of Calvert Animal Welfare League, you’ll find a thrift store (1040 N. Prince Frederick Blvd. in Prince Frederick) that supports rescue, care and adoption efforts for animals. One hundred percent of proceeds go directly to Calvert Animal Welfare League. You’ll find plenty of great finds from children’s books, jewelry, kitchen décor and even Christmas items.
CAWL is an all-volunteer, nonprofit pet shelter. Its objective is to provide a friendly, caring environment to advocate the adoption of unwanted, homeless animals and to be able to sustain these animals until they are adopted. CAWL’s vision is to develop resources that allow them to offer educational programs that clearly define responsible pet care and respect for all animals.
Donation times are 11 am-3pm Friday-Saturday. If items are in good condition, they’ll gladly accept them for sale. Clothing and large furniture are currently not being accepted.
Call 410-535-9300 or go to cawlrescue.org/second-chance-thrift-store.html for more information.
THE SPOT (Stop Pet Overpopulation Thrift)
Southern Maryland Spay and Neuter is a nonprofit organization located in the heart of St. Leonard (4860 St. Leonard Road) dedicated to ending the tragic euthanasia of adoptable companions through low-cost spay and neuter. Because there are many more cats and dogs than there are homes available, many dogs and cats unfortunately are euthanized. But by providing grants for spay and neutering, SPOT helps to reduce this over population, and needless euthanasia.
The volunteers at SPOT are passionate about helping animals and preventing overpopulation of dogs and cats.
At The SPOT you can find a little bit of everything from household items, clothes, jewelry, furniture, small appliances and more. This is another great thrift store if you’re looking to help a good cause while finding some unique and valuable finds.
Donation hours are 10am-3pm Wednesday and Saturday. Clean and sellable items are gladly accepted such as clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, games, book and videos, housewares and linens, electronic, computers, small appliances and collectibles.
Mattresses, cribs, car seats, stained/ torn/broken furniture, Christmas trees, and large items including sofas, refrigerators, dressers, desks, exercise equipment, beds, entertainment centers and recliners are not accepted.
Call 410-562-6516 or go to spayspot.org for more information.
Next time you need a new outfit, toys, home furnishing, cool jewelry or an unusual gift, head to one of these charity thrift stores. You will enjoy a variety of merchandise, and you will be making a difference in the lives of people and dogs and cats in Southern Maryland. It’s retail therapy at its best! •