April 5, 2022

Charity thrift store to open on Bequia in support of Sunshine School

THE GRENADINE island of Bequia is to get its first ever charity-run ‘thrift’ store this summer, offering used clothing, books and homeware at bargain prices – all in aid of The Sunshine School for Children with Special Needs.

Due to open in June, the store known as ‘Encore’, has been made possible through financial support from community group Action Bequia, itself an environmental pioneer which instigated the island’s recycling program in 2016 and which now employs nine people.

A release from the charity said that ‘Encore’ will be based in the harbour area of Port Elizabeth between Front Street and the start of the Belmont Walkway. Its name has been chosen to reflect the opportunity to give a repeat performance of something much loved and appreciated.

Serving the island’s residents and its many thousands of visitors, ‘Encore’ will be manned by volunteers and rely on donations of items from the community.

Island resident and Treasurer of the Sunshine School, Suzanne Gabriel, is co-ordinating the project’s launch.

“Shopping at Encore will not only be kind to people’s wallets with so many amazing bargains to be had, but it’s also going to help us be kind to the planet,” she said.

“Approximately 12 million tones of clothing end up in landfill each year, yet 85% of it is in perfect condition and could be re-worn and re-loved. The same is true of books and homeware, and it’s so much better to see things reused rather than ending up in the dump,” she said.

“We all have things at home that we don’t want or need any more. Perhaps a dress that no longer fits, a bag you never use, a set of dishes that have now been replaced, or a cushion that no longer matches the décor. If you think someone else might love it, we can find it a new home and the school’s children will benefit.”

The Sunshine School is a not-for-profit institution which through education and love, helps challenged students aged from 5 to 20 to reach their full potential. It is dependent on donations and private fund-raising efforts, and like many other organisations has been hard hit by the global pandemic, the release noted.

It is hoped that ‘Encore’ will become a significant source of income for the school and that it will also stock craft items made by the pupils.

There will be a number of volunteering opportunities at the store, from general sales assistant to section co-ordinators, design and display, PR and marketing, maintenance etc. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the project organisers via e-mail at bequiasunshineschool; Suzanne Gabriel on (784) 528 7444 or (784) 457 3794.