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HELPERS: Stepping up to help out community members in need at local thrift shop

'I just like to keep busy and help the community,' says community volunteer
The Clothes Line second-hand shop in Bradford is all run by volunteers like Rita Thew and Carol Belanger.

When The Clothes Line second-hand shop opened in Bradford last fall, a handful of volunteers stepped up to help ensure its success.

The store works with local residents to redirect clothing and small household items from the landfill for resale at affordable prices for people of all economic backgrounds.

The store is run entirely by a dozen volunteers through CONTACT Community Services. Residents Carol Belanger and Rita Thew are two of the volunteers who help out at the store each week. From sorting clothes to tidying up to checking out customers, there are various tasks to keep the volunteers busy throughout the day.

Thew says the Bradford community has been generous in terms of donating items for the store, oftentimes not having enough space to fit everything on the floor.

"A lot of new clothing, even with tags still on," said Thew.

The store now has a small change room, allowing customers to try on items before purchase. Thew pointed out that items not sold at the shop are sold to recycling facilities.

Thew and Belanger have known each other for the past fives years. They got involved in helping at the store through Belanger's daughter-in-law, who works at CONTACT Community Services. The pair started off by volunteering at the Coats for Kids drive in October, a community donation program run through CONTACT, for kids and families in need of winter clothing.

Belanger has volunteered in the community for years, helping out at the Bradford Food Bank, Bradford Minor Hockey Association and the COVID-19 community clinics.

"I just like to keep busy and help the community. It gives a good feeling that you're helping," said Belanger.

In 2012, the Town of BWG presented Belanger with the Volunteer Service Award; in 2014, she received the Patricia Hartley Administrators Award presented by Ontario Minor Hockey Association, and in 2015, Belanger received the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award.

The Clothes Line is currently looking for more volunteers to help run the store and donations are accepted by appointment only.

Store hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

With an increased volunteer contingent, store operating hours will be expanded accordingly. Visit for more information.

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Natasha Philpott

About the Author: Natasha Philpott

Natasha is the Editor for BradfordToday and InnisfilToday. She graduated from the Media Studies program at The University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Bradford with her husband, two boys and two cats.
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