Thrift shop sales benefit local programs



January 16, 2013 - 12:00 AM

A covey of volunteers who sort and sell used clothing and household goods at the Iola Senior Citizens thrift shop, 223 N. State St., donated $16,000 to benevolent organizations during 2012.
Joe Hess, one of the volunteers, gave Allen County commissioners an accounting of donations at their meeting Tuesday morning.
Of the total, $1,200 went to kindergarten and first-grade classrooms in USD 257 schools.
“Many teachers spend from their own pockets to provide students with what they need,” Hess said, allowing that his group was eager to help out. Another $1,900 went to the public pre-school. ANW special education received $200.
CURB, the Church Utility Relief Board, received $2,000 last winter to help pay utility bills for needy families, and Hope Unlimited received $2,500. Allen County Hospice benefited by $1,000.
Receiving $500 each were Project Care, Humboldt Food Pantry, Allen County Crime Stoppers, CASA, and Adopt-a-Child.
Much of the money is raised a quarter at a time. Hess pointed out jeans fetched 25 cents a pair, shirts are 20 cents each and a pair of shoes is 20 cents.
Anyone is welcome to browse the store, and often it is people who bring in donations of clothing, Hess said.
Volunteers go through what’s donated “and anything I’d wear, or one of the other volunteers would, goes on the rack,” Hess said.
Items of lesser condition are put outdoors and offered free, with most disappearing in short order.
Hess said this year’s donations were down from 2011, when the group gave away $23,000, because the center purchased a second storage shed.
In answer to a question, Hess said volunteers who help with daily chores come from Iola and several area towns.
“Anyone can be a volunteer,” he added, “but to be a member (of Iola Senior Citizens) you have to be 50 or older. We have some members in their 90s.”

DONNA HOUSER, representing Iola’s Community Involvement Task Force, said the group would like to find a bridge to put across Elm Creek for walkers going to the park that has been developed on the south bank of the stream.
“I went with Bill (King) to look at the Geneva bridge,” she said. “I loved it,” although it isn’t long enough to span the creek. “I’d like for you to keep your eyes for a bridge we might be able to use.”
Houser said CITF also would look at grant opportunities.
Replacement of the Geneva Bridge over Indian Creek long has been on the county’s list for replacement and will be soon.
Another listed is the so-called Hegwald Bridge over Owl Creek about 2 1/2 miles west of Humboldt. Its replacement is complicated by the bridge crossing the creek at an angle and also being a century old. Engineers said road approaches to the bridge may have to be reconfigured.
King said Schwab-Eaton, a Manhattan engineering firm, would inspect 35 bridges that are low-rated or have load limits of less than five tons in February. Cost will be $4,650.
Such inspections determine urgency of replacement or repair.

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