Salvation Army combines thrift stores, pleads for volunteers

Published 3:14 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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The Salvation Army in Washington has consolidated its Washington and Chocowinity thrift stores as of Saturday,  April 15, according to Sgt. Allen Adkins, Corps Administrator. 

Instead of having two stores open part-time, the Washington thrift store will be open five days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 112 E Seventh Street to “provide a better shopping experience” for customers, Adkins said. The store is located at The Salvation Army’s Washington office. 

This will alleviate pressure to find employees to work in Chocowinity and Washington, Adkins said. 

The store offers a selection of clothes, furniture and household items that are free for those who are in need and at a reduced price for those who can afford to buy them. Revenue from the store funds local Salvation Army initiatives. 

When he is asked why Salvation Army sells donated items, Adkins responds with, “when someone comes to us in need, they need clothing or household items, then they talk to our social services person to establish a need and then they give them a voucher. They go into our store and pick out whatever they want for free. So we give things away every day.” 

When people purchase items from the Salvation Army thrift store that money is put back into the organization to help fund its food pantry, rent and utilities financial assistance (as funds are available), emergency disaster services, medical assistance and spiritual care counseling. 

Having one full-time store will make it easier to serve clients within their social services programs. 

The local Salvation Army serves clients in six counties – Beaufort, Bertie, Hyde, Martin Tyrrell and Washington. 

For all the Salvation Army does in Beaufort, Bertie, Hyde, Martin Tyrrell and Washington counties, the one thing they ask in return from the community is a helping hand in the form of volunteers. Adkins said the local organization is in “desperate need” of volunteers. 

“I get it, people are busy, busier than ever, but the need does not change because of that,” Adkins said. “Couple with the fact that it’s hard enough to find employees, but also we can’t even find enough volunteers.” 

Those who would like to volunteer can do so at the food pantry, thrift store and during the holidays with Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. 

“It makes it tough when you have a greatly reduced workforce and then try to do what we did five years ago with more employees and more volunteers  than what we do right now. We’re struggling right now to make things work,” Adkins said. 

The Salvation Army is a national, faith based nonprofit whose mission is to spread the Gospel and meet a person’s basic needs regardless of their race, culture, religion, sex or age. 

The Salvation Army was established in 1878 in England by William Booth and was brought to the United States one year later with work taking place in New York City and Philadelphia. By the early 1990’s the Salvation Army’s mission spanned 36 countries.