For over 20 years, a dedicated bunch of volunteers have kept the local Bargain Basement Thrift Store going in Fort St. James.
Started in the basement of the Evangelical Free Church, the shop has been relocated a number of times prior to arriving at its current location in the Nechako Valley Community Services Building in 2007.
Throughout this time, a variety of loyal, hardworking individuals have sorted countless bags of donated items, priced and sold clothing and household items, transferred hundreds of bags of overflow to larger thrift stores in Prince George, and sought to make a positive difference in our community.
These volunteers, including Linda Timothy, do not want to see this stop.
“It’s about benefiting the people in our community,” Timothy said. “Not just the disadvantaged, but everyone.”
And it certainly has benefited many in the community as it has quietly operated over the years.
The shop donates to a number of worthy causes including the Toy and Food Drive, The Key, The Fireweed Collective Society, the Soup Kitchen and the Stuart Lake Hospital. It has also sponsored children to attend Echo Lake Bible Camp and awarded student bursaries.
It passes along sporting equipment to the arena and the youth soccer association, and it has contributed to the medical expenses of community members.
It provides a place for people to donate used items rather than adding them to the landfill, and it gives an outreach for those wanting to help make a difference where they live.
Jen Duncan enjoys volunteering with her daughter Nyah.
“She’s able to learn practical skills while helping here,” Duncan said, “including organizing things and working with cash. She also gets to show compassion to people she would otherwise not cross paths with in her daily life.”
The Bargain Basement helps to reuse and recycle items, rather than discarding them.
Jenny Nichols and Diane Mortenson have been volunteers since the 1990’s. “For me, it’s so important to recycle what we have right back into the community. But it’s also about helping people. If someone is falling through the cracks, we want to help them,” Mortenson said.
The Bargain Basement is currently at a challenging crossroads.
Timothy explained, “We can’t continue to do this if we don’t have enough volunteers. We would like to expand in order to be an easier place for volunteers to work. We need to organize into a society, and develop a mission statement and some guidelines about how we operate. This is difficult to do in our current location, as we are struggling to keep up to the amount of things donated.”
A planning meeting is in the works for the near future. Many changes are on the table including new hours and possibly a new location, but all of these plans still depend on volunteers in order to happen.
Currently, you may visit the shop from 12 – 4 on Thursdays and Fridays.
Donations may be dropped off during store hours and a donation box is located directly in front of the store located at 349 Stuart Drive, in Fort St. James.
For anyone who would like to volunteer, please contact Linda Timothy at: (250) 996-8405.
“We provide such an important service. I don’t think people realize how much it gives back to the community,” Timothy said.