With Impact Thrift Store unable to participate in the county-wide toy drive this holiday season, a number of area organizations and businesses have stepped up to bring a little cheer this Christmas.
“It breaks our heart that we were unable to host the toy drive this year,” said Amy Gerarrd, Impact Thrift Store manager. “We just didn’t have it our operating budget, and we are struggling to just keep the doors open.”
The annual Toy Drive is hosted in cooperation with the California Highway Patrol’s – Williams Area ‘CHiP’s for Kids’ and though toys can be collected, the CHP cannot distribute the toys.
“It is unfortunate that the CHP couldn’t partner with Impact this year; however, we’ve been in contact with the Community Advocates for Parents and Children (CAPC) of Colusa County to help with distribution,” said CHP Officer, Shane Roach.
With just 13 days until Christmas, the two groups hope the community can round up a few gifts for area children in short order.
“We are quickly developing a program to distribute the toys to those children and families in need,” said Bowers.
Toy collection bins were distributed last week to six area businesses: WILLIAMS: Fire Department, 810 E St.; Williams Area CHP Office, 100 E. St.; ARBUCKLE: Rise & Grind Coffee Shop, 208 5th St.; Alsco-Geyer Ace Hardware, 600 5th St.; COLUSA: Williams Pioneer Review, 611 Bridge St.
Help give a happy holiday to families in need by dropping off a new, unwrapped toy at the above locations before the end of the day on Monday, Dec. 18.
The future of Impact Thrift Store
For a number of years, Impact Life Colusa County (Impact Thrift Store) assisted the Williams Area CHP with the collection and distribution of toys to over 300 needy children in Colusa County.
“We usually have a great turnout in donations; however, Impact would purchase about $500 in extra toys and other items for the toy drive,” said Gerrard.
The money simply isn’t there this year.
“Over the past year, our clientele has shrunk. We don’t have that many shoppers anymore,” said Gerrard. “We have plenty of donations and items for the store, but we need people to come in and shop.”
Gerrard said that it has been difficult for the store to pay its necessities the last couple of months.
“We barely make payroll,” said Gerrard. “If we cannot improve our cash flow, we’ll have to close the doors. That could be as close as Jan. 1.”
In addition to the decrease in shoppers, Gerrard contributed their budget shortfall from the illegal dumping of goods at the store.
“At one point we were spending a couple thousand dollars on dump fees,” said Gerrard. “It made a huge impact on us.”
Impact Life Colusa County was founded in 2007 and provides a opportunity to purchase gently used items at great prices. The non-profit organization also provides a county wide food closet, and a Prom/Snowball dress closet.
“We have dozens of people who utilize our food closet each month,” said Gerrard. “The food closet operates on a $30,000 grant and in a years time we distribute more than that.”
Gerrard said the Prom/Snowball dress closet was equally popular.
“We provided an opportunity for kids to come pick out a prom or snowball dress and return it at no charge,” said Gerrard.
In addition to gently used items, many of which had store tags still attached, Impact provided an employment opportunity.
“We provide a great opportunity for those wanting to reenter the workforce, or are needing work experience for their resumes,” said Gerrard. “We work with the probation department for volunteer hours, and we work with a special needs group to give them exposure to a work environment.”
“I started out as a volunteer,” said America Valencia. “I was so scared at first, and the job helped me come out of my shell.”
Valencia said she and her family shops at the thrift store frequently.
“There is a lot of good stuff in here,” she said. “You will have to take your time and look around, but I am sure you’ll find something.”
In addition to name brand clothes such as Miss Me Jeans and Vans, the store also has a collection of vinyl records, and items begging to be re-purposed.
“There are a lot of things need to be re purposed, and many more are ready for use,” said Gerrard. “We really do our best to make sure we are selling good products.”
Impact Thrift Store is located at 541 Fremont St. in Colusa.