Gena Barzan helped open the thrift store earlier this month. (Brieanna Charlebois/ Morning Star)

First animal auxiliary thrift store opens in Vernon

All proceeds will go towards helping various animal rescue groups.

For over 35 years, the Horse Protection Society has been working in the province to save animals from disaster.

As a non-profit, the work they do relies on volunteers and fundraising. In an attempt to aid in their efforts, local Gena Barzan decided to open the first non-profit Animal Auxiliary Thrift Store in Vernon earlier this month. All proceeds will go towards helping various organizations like the Horse Protection Society and other animal rescue groups.

Related: Thrift store benefits horses rescued by Outbackjacks

Related: Where horses are the teachers

“For the past few years we’ve been really busy with the fires and the floods and things like that and a lot of these groups are all volunteer and the incidents and the disasters are becoming more frequent and there’s something happening every month these days where someone is needed,”said Barzan, who also spent many years rescuing animals as Outback Jacks in Falkland, has worked with the Society for years and is also currently a commander for the Animal Lifeline Security Response Team.

“So the Horse Protection Society in Langley saw the need for extra help here in Vernon and said that if we opened up a thrift store, they would sponsor us, and so that’s how we became the very first animal auxiliary thrift store.”

The store, located off highway 6, officially opened its doors Friday, Jan. 4 and is solely run by donations.

“We’re all very excited about it because there are so many groups we will be able to help.”

Since opening, Barzan said they have earned about $5,000 but most of that will go towards initial costs including first and last months rent, a damage deposit, shelving, among others. Barzan said that they are quite happy with the initial community response but are hoping to receive a few more donations to increase awareness and visibility. She said this starts with re-doing their sign outside — a task that will cost about $500.

The Horse Protection Society Of B.C, A Kind Lady Lives Here, and the Animal Emergency Lifeline Response Team are among the organizations the store will aid.

Donations are accepted during store hours. This includes pet and livestock food and supplies, household items, clothing for all ages, craft Items, some furniture (though there is limited space, call before delivery), children toys, pop, beer, and water bottles (please call ahead) 1-250-438-0062. Anyone who wants to volunteer is also welcomed.

The thrift store is located 2411 unit 109 on highway 6, in the plaza behind Diner on Six. Those who can’t make it to Vernon can also donate through the Gathering Grounds Thrift Store in Armstrong.

Related: Hay shortage takes its toll on B.C. animal rescues

Related: B.C. animal sanctuary rescues three calves scheduled for slaughter

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