Unsung Heroes: New Store Partners with Community to Support Four-Legged Friends

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Bloomingdeals ExteriorShoppers in Rockland County have another way to help the Hudson Valley SPCA.

Bloomingdeals! Blauvelt opened March 16 at 580 Route 303 South in the Lakeshore Shopping Plaza. Shoppers can browse gently-used women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, accessories and home goods

“Our slogan is, ‘Where a good deal becomes a good deed,’” HVSPCA Business Development Director Ina Tietjen said of the merchandise lining the walls in its 6,000-square foot location..

Two years earlier (April 2013) Bloomingdeals! ReSale opened at 436 Blooming Grove Turnpike in New Windsor. “We’re doing very well and had a good response from the community,” Tietjen said.

Each volunteer has a story to tell.

“Some of our folks have moved from out of the area and desire to meet new people. Others have retired and want to keep active in business or have lost a spouse and find volunteering therapeutic,” Tietjen said. “Some volunteers come for the mission — to help defend and protect animals in the Hudson Valley.”

Senior store volunteer Ginger Pfeuffer, one of 53 people at the New Windsor location, said it “keeps me active, which in turn helps me stay healthy and happy.” Longtime helper Mary Dickman loves donating so much she encouraged her daughter and granddaughter to also volunteer there.

Bloomingdeals! would be unable to help support the HVSPCA without thrift store volunteers form the Rockland County Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Tietjen said.

home goods“They had been open for a few weeks and reached out to us for volunteers,” RSVP Program Assistant Susan Ball said. “We have about five or six volunteers staffing the new store, which people said is clean and pleasant. The feedback has been very positive.”

 RSVP recruits volunteers 55 and older to help meet community needs and to provide volunteers with meaningful and ongoing opportunities in about 100 organizations ranging from nonprofit to hospitals to schools to adult residences.

The no-kill animal shelter protects and defends animals, seeks homes for them and is funded solely by donations from supporters. It receives no money from federal, state or local municipalities and is not funded by the ASPCA.

“We love our volunteers. Our group is a family, and we care for each other in that manner,” store manager Cindy Topps and Assistant Manager Jessie Rice said.

 Volunteers sort donations, ring up purchases, assist customers with purchases, stock merchandise and organize the stores, which promote a feeling of accomplishment, and enjoy socializing in the break room. “Many bring in homemade cakes and cookies to share. People have fun working here,” Topps said.

Stores are clean and organized and have electronics, toys and furniture in addition to clothing. There is also a furniture consignment area in the New Windsor store, where 50 percent of the sale is paid to the consignor and the other half benefits HVSPCA’s shelter.

This year, the New Windsor ReSale store is working with Safe Homes of Orange County, a nonprofit providing comprehensive and confidential domestic violence services to victims and their families, and is looking for a collaborative partner in Rockland County as well.

“At the end of each year the HVSPCA makes a donation to that organization (we collaborate with) based on our annual sales,” she said.

clothingSafe Homes Executive Director Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier said the nonprofit benefits “by having people drop off their donations to them, and at the end (of the year) give us a donation. Safe Homes’ clients also receive a discount off clothing purchases, for which she and they are grateful.

If someone donates furniture, he or she can designate a portion of the consignment to Safe Homes.

The Hudson Valley SPCA honors volunteers’ dedication by hosting an annual Ice Cream Social in the summer and Holiday Party in the winter, and volunteers have a special discount on store items.

Additions to the team are appreciated and welcomed. Please stop in the store at in New Windsor or call 845-561-3180 and speak with Cindy or Jessie. Store hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Blauvelt location is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both locations are closed Sunday. Please call 845-848-2073.

Send your idea for Unsung Heroes to editor@rocklandcountytimes.com

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