Church Thrift Shoppe assisting those in need for 40 years
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Northborough – The Thrift Shoppe at St. Rose of Lima Church continues with the same main purposes since it opened 40 years ago. Proceeds help people in need of financial assistance and it’s an opportunity for women to get more involved in the parish.
The project is run by a group of volunteers affectionately known as “the Thrift Shoppe ladies.” A founding volunteer from 1974 through 1982 was Hannah Jussaume, who now returns a couple times a month to shop.
“We began the Thrift Shoppe to develop a sense of camaraderie amongst the women because at that time we didn’t have a lot going on,” she said. “We felt there was a need to help grow the women’s involvement in the church.”
In retrospect, Jussaume said the volunteers’ efforts have helped – and to continue to help – parishioners and other residents in more ways than they initially expected.
“It’s been quite something to see how this has evolved,” she said. “I don’t think any of us realized that this would develop into such a support group. It serves a very good purpose. Everything here is very, very well-priced. I’m certain a lot of people come here based on need. It’s surprising how many people do come here.”
Jussaume appreciates her frequent visits back for more than bargain hunting.
“I enjoy coming here to chat with the women,” she said. “I get caught up with all the local happenings around town that I hadn’t heard about yet.”
The other founding volunteers were Mary McCarthy, Bea McQueen, and Rose Talbot.
Donated items for sale include clothing for women, men, and children, costume jewelry, shoes, books, and small household items. From September through June, the Thrift Shoppe is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A longtime volunteer for 30 years is Ruth Libby, who noted that the operating hours are based on the schedule of moms.
“Most of us had young children when we started this, so we came here after school began and then left by the time they came home,” she said. With a laugh, she added, “Of course, now we’re a bit older.”
Libby has noticed that many of the customers aren’t parishioners. Their curiosity was piqued after seeing the sign on the front lawn of the church, conveniently located at 244 W. Main St. in downtown Northborough. A number of them have become regular visitors to the Thrift Shoppe.
“We have regulars who come once a week,” she noted.
Another sign is occasionally posted outside the church and attracts even more customers.
“Maybe once or twice a year we have a sign out on the lawn when everything in here is a dollar,” Libby said. “How does that sound for good prices, huh? Believe me, people are here when they know we have a dollar sale.”
Libby became involved with the project when she filled in for a friend who was unable to volunteer on a scheduled day.
“I got roped in and I’ve been here ever since,” she said. “The place grows on you after a while. If I stay home, then I’d be the one they’ll all talk about that day. That’s a standard joke that we have here!”
Joking aside, she said, “It’s always been a fun place and the girls are delightful. I have a thousand good memories from the friends I’ve made here.”
Other current volunteers are Jean Bading, Nancy Capobianco, Paula Garrious, Marie Groome, Louise Kapaczieski, Debby Lewko, Nathalie Scott, Maureen Shea, Mary Weir, and Nancy White.
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