On the northwest corner of College and Seventh streets in Hollister, the Sacred Heart Thrift Store offers low-cost goods to the public while helping the disadvantaged.
Formerly Saint Vincent de Paul, the nonprofit, volunteer-run thrift store is now sponsored by Sacred Heart & St. Benedicts Parish, though it operates independent of the church. Its goal is to reach people in need in the community. The thrift store sells clothing, small household items, books and toys at a suggested price. It offers clothing and other goods to the unemployed and homeless for a donation or in exchange for a gift of labor, which could be as simple as sweeping around the building.
“We try to help the poor in our community, so we ask for donations and then we recycle those donations,” said store manager Marcella Harris. “We are like a thrift store but mostly we are a charity.”
Harris said money from sales and donations help the store provide clothing to homeless and needy families. Once a month, they provide a complete outfit for all family members of the unemployed and homeless. They also give away toiletries and other necessities when possible.
At Christmas and Easter, low-income county residents can get groceries through the store to help them celebrate the holidays. The store follows county guidelines to determine who is low-income. Groceries are provided by means of a debit card that can be used at local stores.
As to why she volunteers, Harris said, “I was sitting at home too much, feeling sorry for myself.” She said a friend told her she needed to get out of the house.
“I like thrift stores and I could tell this store needed help,” Harris said.
Hollister resident Rebecca Salinas, who has volunteered at the store for five years, said she loves the “atmosphere of giving” and she especially likes the services for the homeless.
Sacred Heart Thrift Store currently has 13 volunteers and is in need of more so they can expand their operating hours. The store is currently open Monday through Thursday, as well as the first Saturday of the month, from 10 a.m. to noon.
To volunteer, donate or receive services, visit Sacred Heart Thrift Store at 680 College Street in Hollister, or call (831) 637-7998.