Nestled behind St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Ruskin is the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. For over 20 years, the store has sold gently-used merchandise to the local community. All proceeds from the store go directly to those in need in the East Hillsborough area. In a time when many charities are being criticized for their administrative costs, St. Vincent has held true to its mission of returning proceeds to the local community. The store only employs a few individuals who manage and operate the store, therefore, over 99 percent of all proceeds go back into the east Hillsborough area.
St. Vincent de Paul of East Hillsborough is a Catholic charity comprised of volunteers from St. Anne, St. Stephen, Nativity and Prince of Peace Catholic churches. The mission of the organization is to serve the poor and disadvantaged. Over 100 volunteer Vincentians from the four churches work with families in need by providing financial assistance including rent and utility support. In addition, the churches operate food pantries, visit the sick and elderly, arrange shelter and provide disaster relief and medical assistance within their local parish areas.
“The thrift store is a great service to the poor. Not only do store proceeds go back into our local community, we are also able to sell household items and clothing to residents who are operating on very tight household budgets,” said Carolyn Chisano, President of East Hillsborough County St. Vincent de Paul. “For example, we recently began selling new mattresses for bargain prices to make sure people don’t go without bedding,” she added.
The organization has special events throughout the year including a backpack giveaway at the start of the school year. This holiday season, the store is reaching out to the LifeCare Pregnancy Center, located in Ruskin. The Pregnancy Center is committed to providing compassion, information and support to women, couples and families facing the challenge of an unplanned pregnancy. LifeCare offers support to women during a critical time of life-changing decisions. Because many women are faced with financial hardships, the St. Vincent Thrift Store is collecting diapers, formula and baby wipes that will be donated to LifeCare. “We are grateful to our customers that recognize our mission and donate to help women in our community,” said Chisano.
Baby items can be dropped off at the thrift store during stores hours, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. More information about St. Vincent de Paul can be found at www.svdpruskin.org. For donation pick-ups, call 645-5255.