People donate unneeded household items, shoppers find new treasures and necessities and other people in need get nutritious meals. This circle of caring is made possible by the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society Store.
The store operates entirely with donated furniture, appliances and smaller household items with a volunteer staff. The money raised goes to support the processing site which dries donated local food which is then made into soup mixes to be used by aid agencies. Last year, the processing site, also staffed by volunteers, made more than two million servings of soup mix. The bags of soup mix, dried fruit and hospital equipment are sent with non-profit agencies to help with relief work. The 2011 harvest was sent to Moldova, a small country that was part of the former Soviet Union.
The North Okanagan Valley Gleaners Society was formed in 2007 by a group of people who wanted to share the valley’s harvest with others.
“We rely on donations and we appreciate them. We have some very generous donors, both for the store and for processing,” said James Van Der Tas, a volunteer. “But we do have to ask that things for the store be in reasonable shape and operating condition. Ask yourself, ‘Would I give this to my best friend?’ If we get things that can’t be used, we have to pay to take them to the dump and that means we have less to give.”
The store, located across from Carpet Castle and the former Bakers Dozen building, is a place to look for everything from antiques, to good furniture of all kinds, some of it solid wood, good for use as is or for refinishing or re-purposing, sewing machines, ornaments, pictures, lamps, filing cabinets, garden pots, outdoor furniture, musical instruments, trunks, even records and books.
There is a silent auction each week for one or two of the more unusual items that come in. People can drop by the store and put in a bid.
“We sell a lot of sofas and love seats and lamps but you could find anything. It changes all the time,” said volunteer Dianne Egerton. “We have some people who come in and say they didn’t know we were here so we want people to know what we are doing and we would like it if people would consider us when they have good, used items that they don’t need anymore.”
The store will pick up donations by arrangement but has to charge for deliveries.
The Gleaners Used Furniture and Appliance Store, with manager Leanne Nelson, is open at #B 4405-29th St. Vernon, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, or to volunteer at the store or the processing site in Coldstream, call 250-549-1123.