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Brotherly Love: Thrift Shopping With Impact

Brotherly Love
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By Ukee Washington

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thousands of people every year are shopping and giving at the same time through thrift stores. The non-profit Impact Thrift Stores have a three-fold mission: provide good jobs, offer low-cost goods, and give back to the community.

Elizabeth O’Donnell of Cape May is having a banner shopping day, thanks to her brother.

“He brings me here and I’m like, ‘Oh my God! What did you do to me?'” she said. “I can’t stop putting stuff in my cart! It’s beautiful.”

She discovered Impact Thrift Store in Feasterville, and so have thousands of other people.

Gray Wirth, president and CEO of Impact Thrift, said, “We’re at the corner of Street Road and Bustleton Pike. It’s a really busy intersection, so everyone seems to know us.”

Customers shop the 40,000 square feet of clothes, books, knickknacks, at low prices. You can even get your Christmas decorations early.

“Clothing really flies out of here,” said store manager Todd Ermer, “and bric-a-brac.”

One of the biggest draws is the new and used furniture: dining room sets, couches, tables, even pianos. Everything inside is donated and tax deductible.

Shopper Anthony Seals said, “Find some CDs, they got good books here. It’s just a wide selection.”

Half of the net proceeds from their four locations (about $25,000 a month) help fund 16 charities in the Delaware Valley.

“All the charities that we support in one way or another help families and crisis [organizations] in need,” Wirth said.

One is as Bethany Christian Services, which helps find homes for children.

“Impact has been essential in supporting us. Since 2002, they have contributed over $190,000 to our ministry,” branch director Heather Bert said.

The 230 employees get more than a paycheck, says store manager Todd Ermer.

“They want to be able to have a good job and make a difference in the community and that’s one of the reasons I’m here as well.”

Since 2002, $1.8 million has gone to charity.

For more info, visit: www.impactthrift.org

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