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Volunteering at thrift store provides education ... and surprises

The Northview
Lead Summary
Brenda Winter, columnist

I volunteer at Redeemed Remnants and you should, too.
Redeemed Remnants is a thrift store ministry of ATLAS of Rock County. It’s located a block south of Main Street in the former Luverne Kawasaki building.
I think volunteering to work the store’s back door is the most fun because opening each donation box is like opening a Christmas surprise. “What’s in this box?”
Cars, vans, pickups – even  trailers pull up to the drop-off door bringing everything from lamps, to shoes, to boxes of ornaments, to used undies, to plates, to dog dishes, to tablecloths and everything else.
One twenty-something young man observed, “I’ve never met people so happy to take all of your crap.” The same young man entered the front door and said, “Wow, nice store!”
That’s what the volunteers and staff at Redeemed Remnants do – they turn “your crap” (which it is not, by the way) into the stuff for sale in “a nice store.”
Half the fun of unpacking donations is playing the game I call “What do you think this might be?”
Last week I learned that what I thought was the world’s largest garlic press was actually a potato ricer used to make lefse. (Who knew?)
Sometimes staff and volunteers try to guess the exact number of cut glass pickle dishes that still remain to be donated in Rock County. (Current guess: thousands.)
We laugh ourselves to tears collecting white elephant gifts for the upcoming staff Christmas party.
“Perhaps the scarecrow made from a mop head would suit her? No? Then how about the green Santa bear? The Lawrence Welk album set? The deer-drinking-from-a-stream tapestry?”
Of course the list of “really good” things for sale at Redeemed Remnants is too long to cover. We (sometimes) have new Vans shoes, lovely home decor, Luverne Cardinal clothing, winter hats and coats and boots, jewelry, crafts, linens, books … it’s endless.
But the “stuff” at Redeemed Remnants is actually not that important compared to the camaraderie shared by staff and volunteers.
If you’re looking for a fun way to get out of the house a few hours a week, and you like coffee and homemade bars, try out volunteering at Redeemed Remnants.
You might be surprised by what’s in the next box.

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