August 28, 2008 · Updated 1:20 PM
For 26 years Arlington has had a thrift store named Helping Hands. People helping people. The store takes donations from the community then sells them back by the bag full.
Its the only thrift store I know of that sells everything by the bag; others price each item.
The people who work there are all unpaid volunteers, who donate their time and energy to help others.
The store is self-supporting and last year was able to donate $13,000 back to the Arlington Community. They do good work and every penny goes right back to our local families.
A couple of weeks ago a big metal clothing donation bin appeared right on the corner next to the signs for Helping Hands. This creates a rather confusing situation. The city has a metal sign on the corner post saying Helping Hands, Food Bank at Haller Park directing people down that street. There is also another sign saying Helping Hands Helping People which is brightly colored and hand painted. Within a few feet is the metal box saying clothing donation.
You have to look on the bottom to see it is not Helping Hands donation box.
Since it is on the Thriftys Food Pavilion parking lot, I asked about it. No one seemed to know where it came from or who it belonged to or how it got there.
I got online and found out that it belongs to Value Village Seattle and Spokane based. The NWCenter.com site told me that this is a multi-million dollar business with thrift stores all over this state. They get money from the federal government and they received $191,000 in 2008 from state taxpayers. This huge company has warehouses in Seattle and in Spokane. They have trucks, buses and beautiful offices with many, many paid employees.
Now to me, this does not seem fair at all. Im sure that NW Center, i.e. Value Village, does good work for those they help but Arlingtons little thrift store Helping Hands cannot compete with them. If Value Village takes the donations from Helping Hands, we will not be able to have our little thrift store. They will run us out of business.
These last two weeks Helping Hands hasnt had many donations. Without donations of clothing, Helping Hands cant stay open. We will loose our little store. So Im writing to ask the people of Arlington to bring your good usable donations down the hill to the local thrift store and not put them in the metal container which is by the signs.
Helping Hands helps local people. They help support the Boys and Girls Club, The Cocoon House, The Fire Department and The Food Bank. Helping Hands uses the money to help people right here in our community. Please donate to a charity that has been helping right here in town for over 25 years.
Tell Thrifty to move the Seattle Clothing Donation Box back to Seattle.