Thrift on Fifth

Where purpose meets
affordability
By Grace Menchaca

When searching Yelp for “Best Thrift Stores” in Rochester, a list of familiar chains loads on the screen. Goodwill, Savers and the Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center are a few of the names. But one possibly unfamiliar name pops up on the list—Thrift on Fifth.  

A NEW THRIFT IN TOWN

Thrift on Fifth, located in Christ United Methodist Church, offers quality, gently-used clothing at very affordable prices. Adult items cost a mere $1, with children’s items costing 50 cents. Volunteers are staffed to welcome community donations and purchases in the basement of the church. People from all walks of life are invited to visit the store. The reason for this? Thrift on Fifth aims to serve its community by creating a place of inclusivity and support.

Pam Lund, a volunteer at the store, shares her experiences with customers. “We had a mother of five, with four of her kids with her, and they all shopped. They left with six bags of clothing for the coming school year. All the kids were excited they got to choose themselves, and their total cost was $31,” she says, “We’ve had people come after they get their first job out of high school. They have ripped jeans and t-shirts, so they need something else to wear to work. They’ll be able to get two or three outfits for $10 maximum—maybe not even that.”

In particular, Thrift on Fifth helps a community of customers barely getting by. “On Saturdays, we have a lot of homeless customers because of the Saturday meals the church offers,” says Lund. “One time, there was a woman who was barefoot because her bag that carried all her possessions was taken from her. Some of (the homeless customers) come every week, and we get acquainted with them. We see them through their various problems and successes, and that’s very rewarding. They are so good to each other. Someone who has $5 will buy for someone else who doesn’t have $1.”

ANOTHER WAY TO THRIVE

All proceeds raised at the store go to Thrive Child Care and Family Resource Center scholarships. According to the website, Thrive offers pivotal components in early childhood development and education. These components include high-quality interactions with education professionals, hands-on learning projects and experiences, definitive strategies to express emotional and social feelings and parental opportunities to participate in their child’s education. Thrive is not a religious-affiliated center and does not require participants to adhere to certain religious beliefs or customs.

COMMUNITY HELP

Like Thrift on Fifth, many Rochester organizations have opportunities for volunteers to help the community. At Ronald McDonald House, volunteers can welcome and assist visitors as HouseWarmers. At Paws and Claws Humane Society, volunteers can walk or play with furry friends. Channel One Food Bank volunteers can stock and assist the Supplemental Food Shelf Program. Women’s Shelter and Support Center volunteers can aid in facility maintenance. The opportunities are endless. After considering her volunteer experiences at Thrift on Fifth, Lund fondly remarks, “I have to say, we get as much as we give. It’s very rewarding and fun.”

In a city that’s growing more and more diverse, volunteer work is a perfect pastime to connect with the locals and foster community growth. Thrift on Fifth is open Wednesdays from 4 to 7 pm,
and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to noon. Community members who are interested in volunteering at the store can contact Christ United Methodist Church at 507-289-4019 or email@cumethodist.com.

Seasonal clothing donations are accepted at the store during church hours. To keep up to date with Thrift on Fifth, follow their Facebook page: facebook.com/thrifton5th

Grace Menchaca is a student at Winona State University and aspiring freelance writer.