The Thrift and Gift was organized in 1973 to give seniors age 55 and up a way to supplement their incomes and preserve crafts that had long been a part of American households, which include: quilting, knitting, crocheting, sewing and detailed art work such as woodworking, painting and jewelry making.

The shop proved successful and was supported by the community for many years. For 30 years, the Thrift and Gift was on 5th street in downtown Orange. Over time, the building deteriorated beyond repair and many felt the Thrift and Gift would close its doors forever.

Pat Putnam, one of the founders of the Thrift and Gift, was determined to not let this happen and found space in the old Salk School on 37th Street in Orange after that property was purchased by PLAN, another organization she supported. The Thrift and Gift Shop reopened in the new location in 2003.

The shop still sells handmade items made by seniors.

Quilting is a big part of their business. Ladies from the local community gather on Tuesdays and Thursdays to socialize and enjoy their craft. They are always looking for experienced quilters who would like to join them and they are also willing to take on novices who want to learn.

The quilters make quilts for the public and the shop. Each year they make a special anniversary quilt they raffle off in December. Money raised from the fundraiser is used for shop expenses. Last year’s winner was a man from out of state that was working locally.

This year’s quilt is appliquéd with butterflies and is king sized. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5.

Sometimes, people will donate parts of the quilts that are made for the shop and sometimes they have to buy the pieces they need.

“We take donations and put them together,” Barbara Miles said.

If someone brings in a quilt to be sewn by the guild, Thrift and Gift charges .023 per inch for labor. “We would like for them to bring their quilt top, batting, back piece and thread if possible.” If they don’t have it, the shop will charge for the materials needed according to their costs.

Vendors also sell their quilts in the shop. The shop receives 20 percent of all sales.

“This is just something for us to get together and do, said Miles.

The quilts vary in price according to size, materials and difficulty. Each quilt takes a different amount of time to make. It depends on the size of the quilt and how many quilters show up. There are usually 8-10 quilters on any given Tuesday or Thursday.

The shop is a nonprofit store that sells good used clothing, craft items, books, glassware, primitives, pictures, small antique pieces and household items. The items sold in the store are donated by people in the community.

“We take almost anything as long as it’s nice and clean,” said Mary Holland, shop volunteer. According to Holland, costume jewelry has been a hot item lately. “When we were downtown, our good glassware was sought after.”

The bargain room is open 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. It is located in another room in the old Salk School building. Items in the bargain room are garage sale type merchandise. There is a two day sale this week in the bargain room. On Thursday and Friday, July 26-27, everything in the bargain room is half off. The bargain room will be open its regular hours both days.

The Thrift and Gift is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It is located at 360 North 37th St. Donations of items are welcomed and encouraged, but they must be delivered to the store.

Photo: Barbara Miles, Velma Couture and Mary Guillot are pictured with this year’s anniversary quilt sporting butterflies. The quilt will be raffled off Dec. 10. Chances are $1 each or six for $5. Chances can be purchased at the Thrift and Gift shop located at 360 37th Street in Orange. RECORD PHOTO: Penny LeLeux