CALLICOON, NY — The Main Street Thrift Shop is the hub of what has become a well greased wheel of community resources, organization and information. It receives donations and gives to those in …
CALLICOON, NY — The Main Street Thrift Shop is the hub of what has become a well greased wheel of community resources, organization and information. It receives donations and gives to those in emergency situations throughout the Sullivan West Central School District community, as well as communities in Pennsylvania within a 15-mile radius of the hamlet.
This thrift shop is staffed by an impressive group of dedicated individuals who love what they do—helping others. It is an outreach program with answers.
If they can’t help, they will direct you to someone who might.
The thrift shop is owned by Interfaith Outreach United. (I.O.U.) It is “both a service to the community and a source of revenue to I.O.U.,” said I.O.U. board member Buff McAllister.
“The revenue from the thrift shop goes to paying the expenses of the shop,” McAllister continued. “Anything over those expenses helps to fund our other services, such as food vouchers, emergency funds for clients’ rent, utilities, etc.”
Founded in 1987 by a group of non-sectarian concerned citizens, I.O.U. began addressing the needs of those living in crisis. In 1992, Elizabeth McAllister, aka Buff, incorporated I.O.U. Its 501(c)3 means it’s a nonprofit organization, and contributions are tax deductible.
Today, after 35 years, seven people sit on the board. There are over 200 members, three paid employees and a host of volunteers.
According to Martha Tulley at the Office for the Aging in Monticello, NY, “Volunteers are working with I.O.U.,” making it a partner with the Retired Senior Volunteers Program of Sullivan County.
Contributions come from the I.O.U. fund, from individuals, local businesses, churches, synagogues, community organizations and grants.
The Emergency Food and Shelter Program is one such grant. It is used to provide vouchers for heating, gas, electric—and rent to prevent eviction. Money is paid directly to companies and landlords by I.O.U.
Food vouchers pay only for fresh foods such as meat, produce, dairy products, frozen vegetables and bread. They cannot be used for soda, candy or cigarettes. Fresh-food vouchers supplement the mostly canned or boxed food from pantries. Vouchers are given to shop at Peck’s Market in Callicoon or Jeffersonville. I.O.U. pays the monthly bill.
If that weren’t enough, the I.O.U. is involved with the backpack program designed to “feed America” in the Sullivan West School District and the Damascus Elementary School in PA. Kid-friendly food for weekends and school breaks are discreetly supplied, so that children don’t go hungry. I.O.U. also fills “clothing closets” for children and teenagers with clothing and toiletries.
Every year Thanksgiving baskets are given out. People sign up at the thrift shop in early November to receive the holiday meal. “We gave 56 gift baskets this year—over 200 people benefited,” said board secretary Sharon Schroeder. “Turkeys were donated by several organizations, including Callicoon Kiwanis, and individuals. Churches and individuals donated canned goods and pies. Pecks 18 $50 gift certificates.” Board members and volunteers arranged the baskets at the Delaware Youth Center.
Schroeder was smiling excitedly about the upcoming holiday toy giveaway at the United Methodist Church in Callicoon, on Saturday, December 17. It’s for kids from infants to age 12, and is for families in need who live in the Sullivan West School District, or in Pennsylvania, within a 15-mile radius of Callicoon. You can sign up by Monday, December 12 at the thrift shop. Contributions come from the Marines’ Toys for Tots, I.O.U. funds, individuals, community businesses, local places of worship and the Girl Scouts.
Joy is the common denominator for all those involved with the thrift shop. Those behind the scenes are not looking for recognition. They do what they do because giving to others makes them feel joyful. As Khalil Gibran said, “There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.” All year round.
To give a monetary donation to the thrift shop, mail a check to Interfaith Outreach United, PO Box 479, Callicoon, NY 12723.
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