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Share Shop inundated with donations after re-opening

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

Hinton’s Share Shop began operations again June 22 and donations have been flowing in steadily ever since.

Barb Meredith, president of the Share Shop, noted that the influx of donations is likely due to people saving up all their things over the past few months since the Share Shop closed its doors.

“It’s been a bit challenging dealing with them, we’re not able to put out everything that we have obviously,” Meredith said.

Since the Share Shop isn’t able to put out all donations on their own shelves, they send quite a bit to Edmonton.

An organization called Inclusion Alberta takes excess bags of donations and sells them to Value Village.

The actual shopping at the Share Shop hasn’t been as busy as volunteers expected, which may be due to COVID-19 keeping people away.

“Some people are still nervous about coming out and maybe some people are hindered by some of the protocols that we’ve put in place,” Meredith said.

Protocols include wearing a mask in the shop, sanitizing their hands at the door, and physical distancing, which is encouraged by arrows on the floor.

“We do encourage people to bring their own [mask], we only have a limited supply that we can hand out,” Meredith said.

Only one person per household is allowed into the shop, and no children or babies are permitted.

Shoppers are encouraged to not take too much time in the shop to avoid creating a line up.

At any given time, only 25 shoppers can be in the shop and Meredith said this hasn’t been a problem yet.

The shop has been closed for a total of fourteen weeks without any income at all, but Meredith said they fortunately had a bit of a cushion to pay their utility bills and rent.

“I think we’ll be okay, but we don’t anticipate making as much this year as we have in previous years,” Meredith said.

This means that at the end of the year, each volunteer group that runs the community thrift store will receive less money than previous years.

Local organizations and churches make up the volunteer teams that help run the shop throughout the year.

The Share Shop has been around for more than 40 years, starting in someone’s basement and slowly expanding to where they are now located on Pembina Ave.

Last year the shop expanded into the space next door after the Do Drop In closed down.

“I think that [the Share Shop] is a good thing for the town, it’s a unique place and I think it’s a necessity for a lot of people. It also very much benefits the groups that are taking part in it,” Meredith said. 

Meredith noted that the shop takes donations that are in good shape, gently used, and something that someone would benefit from using. 

The shop doesn’t take larger items like furniture.

The shop is now open from noon until 3 pm each weekday, but remains closed on Thursday nights instead of opening for the evening as they have in the past.

New protocols may emerge after volunteers meet to discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mission of the Share Shop is to provide people with an opportunity to purchase donated, gentle used clothing and small household goods in an atmosphere of caring and respect while diverting items from the landfill.