To see how much Jennifer Pizzoferrato loves resale shops, you need look no further than her forearm. The “Thrift or Die” tattoo says it all.
So when she was looking for a worthwhile way to spend her time during an extended stay with relatives, the 30-something thrift store enthusiast went from shopper to volunteer. She’s on shift five days a week at Family Renew Community’s Secret Attic Thrift Store.
“They took me right in,” says Jennifer, who along with her young son is here from Louisiana, staying with her in-laws while her husband is deployed in Iraq.
“She’s doing to own a thrift store someday,” predicts Assistant Manager Ron Clark, who runs the store with oversight from Family Renew Community Executive Director Tony Deobil.
Volunteers such as Jennifer are essential to the Secret Attic, and therefore essential to Family Renew Community’s mission of helping homeless families with children. The store’s small staff — just Ron, Supervisor Carol Taylor and Retail Assistants Matt Lukasik and Herb Fraley relies up them to accept and process merchandise donations, help customers, keep the racks and shelves stocked and tidy and run the cash register.
Cyndi Clark, Ron’s wife, is a full-time volunteer at the store. But time commitments as extensive as Jennifer’s and Cyndi’s are exceptional. It only takes a half day once a week, or even once a month, to make a difference. And many volunteers are seasonal, heading north for the summer months.
After more than 18 years, 87-year-old Sam Jones comes in twice a week to help out, but shies away from praise. “Ron’s sense of humor” keeps him coming back, he says.