Lakeview Foundation honors its Community Thrift Shop volunteers

By: 
Paul Garrod - news4garrod@vineyardpress.biz
The Lakeview Foundation Board toasted the volunteers of the Community Thrift Shop on its 10th anniversary at a gathering last Thursday night at the Lawton Community Center.  The Board made  special recognition of Sue Harris, of Lawton, left, a Thrift Shop manager, who will be retiring at the end of December.  Harris began volunteering in October 2008, as part of the “grassroots” team of volunteers. Other members of that “grassroots team” were honored, above, including, from left: Back row - Wayne Potter, Al Fader, Bill Harris, Chris Pomeroy, Bev Mroczek, Darlene Spalo and Cheryl Shaw; Front row - Dorothy Dietz, Marcia Potter, Troy Bentley, Carol Sjoquist, Morene Huggett, Marcia Williams and Cheryl Shaw.

    LAWTON - Nearly 200 people, many of whom are Community Thrift Shop volunteers, gathered last Thursday night at the Lawton Community Center to mark the 10th anniversary of the Paw Paw thrift shop.
    Co-host Leanne Fader, Community Thrift Shop  general manager, told those gathered, “You matter. You make a difference. Your great generosity has had a profound and lasting impact on our community. Your willingness to share both your time and your talent by volunteering with the Community Thrift Shop says a lot about each of you as human beings. Your willingness to give selflessly to help others speaks to both your strength and the quality of your character.”
    Co-host Wayne Potter, a CTS volunteer, said, “While we know that you choose to volunteer selflessly and without expectation of being recognized or rewarded, today we wish to do just that. We want to let you know just how much your dedication is appreciated and to make sure that everyone at Community Thrift Shop is forever grateful to each of you. “Whether you are a longtime volunteer or if you got involved fairly recently, and regardless of how many hours you choose to give, it’s important for you to know that what you do makes a difference.”
    He added, “Words cannot adequately express the gratitude that the Lakeview Foundation Board and the Community Thrift Shop staff wish to convey. Please know that your volunteerism is recognized, appreciated, valued and cherished.”
    The Lakeview Foundation Board made special recognition of Sue Harris, of Lawton, a Community Thrift Shop manager, who announced that she will retire at the end of December.
    Harris began volunteering in October 2008, as part of the  “grassroots” team of volunteers who established a vision and worked to fulfill a community need, which was “to provide a clean, quality second-hand shop in Van Buren county.”
    Harris was the first employee of the Community Thrift Shop.
    “She continues to share her talents at the shop daily.  Her passion and respect for our volunteers goes unwavered.  Her creative and décor talents can be witnessed in our display set-ups. Behind the scenes, she is the liaison to our Lakeview Foundation Board.  Through her leadership, the shop continues to grow and expand into our communities,” said Lakeview Foundation Board member Mary Ann Middaugh.
    Harris and her husband, Bill, have eight grandchildren. They have also co-owned a local business for more than 40 years.
    Other highlights during the night included a group of volunteers who were honored for their volunteerism, which  began when  the thrift shop opened its doors in November of 2009. They include:
    Morene Huggett, Dorothy Dietz, Bev Mroczek, Chris Pomeroy, Marcia Potter,  Wayne Potter, Cheryl Shaw, Carol Sjoquist, Darlene Spalo, Marcia Wil-liams, Bill Harris, Tony Bentley and Al Fader.
    Special  recognition was also given to community group partners, Van Kal Trail Lions, Kalamazoo Ringers and East Van Buren Seniors. The three groups have been with the community thrift shops since it opened its doors.
    The Community Thrift Shop’s  community groups, non-profits, supply volunteers for the shop on Saturdays. In return, the CTS profit share their earnings that day with them. Nearly $250,000 has been shared with the groups, including, St Paul’s United Methodist Church, Kal-Haven Trail Lions,  Kalamazoo Ringers, East Van Buren Seniors, and Van Buren Voyagers 4-H Club. “Their earnings are shared within our communities, a full circle of giving and sharing,” said Fader.
    In 2016, the Community Thrift Shop  expanded  its partners with Saturday Cashiers. Cashier groups included: the Miss Paw Paw Scholarship Program, Ele-anor’s Pantry, Paw Paw United Methodist Church, Paw Paw Village Players, and Lawrence United Methodist Church.
    Special Recognition awards were presented to volunteers Morene Huggett and Mike Lake by Lakeview Foundation Board members Mary Ann Middaugh and Eric Larcinese.
    The Thrift Shop had humble beginnings, opening in November of 2009 in a 2,000-square-foot-building donated by John and Linda Tapper. Total sales that day were over $2,300.
    At that time, the thrift shop was part of Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. In 2012, Lakeview Foundation became the leadership for the shop.
    Three years later, the thrift shop relocated to its current location, an 11,000-square-foot building.
    In 2017, the thrift shop again  expanded its operations with a 1,000-square foot building, featuring holiday and home décor.
    A year later, in 2018, additional staff members were hired for the thrift shops.
    According to statistics given that night:
    •The 89 volunteers have given over 150,000 volunteer hours;
    •The Lakeview Foundation community giving of scholarships in Eastern Van Buren County - 438 students gifted nearly $1 million ($967,000).
    •Assistance provided in the  community: Eleanor’s Pantry, Cell Phones for Soldiers, Van Buren Mental Health, United Christian Services, The First Tee, among many others:
    •The Thrift Shop serves as a recycling center for electronics, glass, plastic, cardboard, and bulk clothing.
 

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