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St. Vincent dePaul great deal, great cause

March 21, 2012
BERLIN – St. Vincent dePaul thrift shop is bustling place with new items coming in daily and waiting to be processed -- volunteers inspect, clean if necessary, price and place on the 'for sale' shelves. Then, price-conscious shoppers and classic recyclers pick through it all looking for treasures.

Muriel Blais, who is the Vice President of the local board that oversees the operation, said that the notion that "one person's junk is another's treasure" is true. The variety is extraordinary—tons of clothing for every season and occasion (even vintage items), small household ware, drapes and linens, furniture, books (some in French). "I believe in the program," she said, "It's a great way to recycle" and help people.

Beyond the three stories of items, the staff is friendly, helpful and hard working. Helen Langlois, Marguerite Lafance and Therese Roy are working in the back room sorting, cleaning, and getting items ready to be sold. Several other volunteers work the handle the money and sale. The basement is full of large items – mostly furniture – is open on Wednesday and Saturday. The entire building is closed on Monday, so Tuesday is a busy day with people coming to see new items. The volunteer staff was also kind enough to advise this writer which shirt would look best for a St. Patrick's Day outing.

Best of all the net proceeds go to charity. "Once the building and other expenses are paid, " said Blasi, "the rest goes to help the needy people in the city." Occasionally, they have raffles. The most recent one was for a handmade quilt (made by Simone Hamel). Denis Theberge was the lucky winner.

Want to help? Good, clean items are always welcome, but there are a few items that they don't want (and can't seem to sell)-- encyclopedia, reference books, and Reader's Digest Condensed versions.

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