When organized in 1973, one of their lesser known objectives was to foster harmony between the races. A better known objective was to give seniors 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 quite successful and was supported by the appreciative community for many years. For 30 years, the Thrift and Gift was on 5th street in downtown Orange. After many years, the old 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 happened and found space in the old Salk School on 37th Street in Orange after that property was purchased by PLAN, another organization she supported. With unbelievable help from volunteers, a wing was remodeled. This labor of love resulted in the Thrift and Gift Shop have a grand reopening in 2003.

The shop still sells many handmade items made by seniors. Quilting is still a big part of their business. Ladies from the local community gather on Tuesdays and Thursdays to socialize and enjoy their craft.

The quilters at the Thrift and Gift Shop have been quilting for more years than they can remember. “We’ve been quilting since we’ve been open at 5th Street ,” said Barbara Miles.

The quilters make quilts for the public and the shop. The quilts for the shop are raffle off or sold in the store. 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,” Miles said.

Vendors also sell their quilts in the shop and the shop receives 20 percent of the sale.

“This is just something for us to get together and do, said Miles. The shop is always looking for good quilters, but the ladies will teach those who are willing learn how to quilt.

The quilts vary in price. The money made on the quilts and all the items in the shop go back into the shop.

Each quilt takes a different amount of time to make. It depends on the size of the quilt and how many quilters show up.

“You have to love it,” Stacy Russell explains.

Some of the faithful quilters are, but certainly not limited to: Barbara Miles, Mary Guillot, Stacy Russell, Velma Couture, Mona Burnson, Janice Simmons, Diana Pollard, Pat Klipstein, Mae Franklin and Bobbie Linscomb.

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 those in the community.

“We take almost anything as long as it’s nice and clean,” said Mary Holland, shop volunteer.
Many donate items that did not sell at their garage sales. The community is encouraged to donate such items, but the items must be brought to the store.

Two faithful volunteers come each working day from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. to open the bargain room, which is located in another room in the old Salk School building. They handle the many donations that those in the community bring in.

The Thrift and Gift will be welcomed in to the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 11 a.m.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers