If you haven’t been inside the Good Samaritan Thrift Store and Food Pantry on Mill St. in Hillsboro recently, you’re in for a pleasant surprise the next time you’re visiting.
This spring, dozens of volunteers chipped in to help with a large scale remodeling, including doubling the size of the retail store space.
What was Accents hair styling salon is now overflowing with good condition used clothing and accessories at bargain prices. The family hair care center accepted a sales offer from the Good Samaritan Board after they decided there was an urgent need for more sales and food pantry space, along with a larger area needed to prepare merchandise before putting it on the racks.
A recent interview with board member Tom Hotek, who devotes much of his extra time to the operation, was an eye opener as he explained how far the Good Samaritan has come since its inception 20 years ago.
The interview took place in a comfortable meeting room that has been dedicated to the late Chuck Fronk, who was very instrumental in the successful history of the Good Samaritan.
The store’s volunteer signup calendar currently has 60-70 names, some of which are helping every week. In addition, there is a Board of Directors that Hotek likened to more of a team effort than a regular Board.
The store is open 1-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9-noon on Saturdays. It’s somewhat shocking to see how much help is needed for opening donation bags, sorting the contributions, and displaying them in the two large showrooms.
They appreciate clean clothes in good condition, although minor repairs can be made.
The sales of contributed clothes generates most of the finances needed to keep the doors open, but financial support is also appreciated.
Thanks to many extra donations, the remodeling included new carpeting and painting, along with major repairs. The effort built up some extra debt but, according to Hotek, it will be paid back within a few years. Much of the extra remodeling work was the result of more team effort.
Some of the food pantry supplies are purchased at reduced costs from the Second Harvest Food Bank. The discounted purchases are a great help. A number of folks from the surrounding areas that have income eligibility come to the Good Samaritan on Thursdays and are always welcome.
Hotek also pointed out how important the annual Scouting Food Drives and postal pickups are in stocking up on food that is often so very much in need. He noted that they also receive quite a bit of donated food supplies from local folks. “Some people just make a habit of picking up a few extra items for the Food Pantry when shopping for their families,” he said.
The Good Samaritan uses Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/goodsamaritan.info) to keep folks up to date on special sales and promotions. And, in house, all the ladies take special pride in their display skills for the clothing being sold.
Although the preparation and display areas appear packed to the limit, when asked if they need more donations, Hotek was quick to smile and reply, “We always need more.”
He pointed out that they have a daily need for staffing on the floor to help customers find things, preparing clothing donations in the back room for display, and helping with the cleaning.
If some items have been displayed unsuccessfully for a while, they are often given to Goodwill or other places that help those in need.
During your next visit, be sure to check out the enlarged historical photos on the walls. It’s like a trip back in time.
The Good Samaritan was founded by, and is still affiliated with, the First Congregational Church. For more information, call the church at 489-2492 and leave a message for Hotek.