AT RANDOM: Between the racks

doubt there’s many people these days who don’t know what the term second-hand kid means.

But just in case.

I’m not talking about a hand-me-down child, I’m talking about kids who grow up wearing hand-me-down clothes.

I was one of those kids (and truth be known I still am, as is my own daughter).

My mom, bless her heart, could hardly afford to keep a roof over our heads and food in the fridge as a single-mom, let alone stocking our closets with all the latest and greatest fashions.

It’s a reality that many people continue to face today. The annual cost of raising a child is somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 (when you add up their portion of food, shelter, daycare, clothing, etc.). For some that’s a huge chunk of change so cutting costs where ever possible is a must.

Even in my two-income household, I can’t afford to outfit my kid in new clothes which she’ll just grow out of in a matter of months. Instead, the second hand stores afford me the opportunity to spoil her with multiple outfits. And then the outfits she hasn’t trashed can be donated right back to the store. Meanwhile all the money spent at the store goes to helping those in need.

It’s a win-win in my mind.

The Salvation Army in particular also offers donated items to those in need (whether it’s a struggling new mom needing baby clothes or someone getting back on their feet whose dish rack is nearly bare). Clients who are in desperate need of items are offered a store voucher. That way they have the choice of choosing the colour and size they want for themselves.

There’s a greater need out there these days, which is why the Salvation Army is refocusing its efforts and closing down the Talkin’ Donkey at the end of the month.

So if you’ve got some items taking up space in your home, spring is the perfect time to de-clutter and donate.

“A real need we have right now is household appliances,” said David MacBain, Salvation Army community ministries director. “We’re actually out, we ran out of stock.”

Handing over your working, gently used items is a great way to give. But for those who can afford the time, volunteering is another. No matter how times are for your family, remember that there’s always someone in a worse situation, and those are exactly the people you can help just by giving time or items to the Salvation Army (which also operates the food bank).

But it’s not just the less fortunate who benefit.

As mentioned earlier, second hand stores afford a lot of people a ‘new’ outfit, a bed for their child or even just a good book to cuddle up with and escape reality for a moment.

I know my mom was ever grateful for the thrift shops. And growing up outfitted in second-hand clothing was normal for us.

While many a deal was found between the racks, it was also a great bonding time for me and mom. Growing up I loved searching the aisles with my mom, and that continued through to the days when I started needing clothes for my own daughter until my mom’s final years.

I suppose that’s why I still love going and almost find comfort spending time in the stores. It rekindles memories of my mom on the days when I miss her most.





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