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A world of treasure

Riderwood thrift shop serves dual purposes

Created date

November 22nd, 2011

Sorting through thrift stores can yield hidden treasure. But for those living at Riderwood, an Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., they often find hidden treasure right in their own backyard. The Treasure Chest at Riderwood benefits all members of the community by providing a place to displace unwanted or unused household items, as well as a convenient place to pick up something unique or needed.

One man s junk

But it isn t just a place where people leave their so-called junk that they no longer want. It s a place where beautiful, unique items from all over the world converge to find new homes. Artwork, lamps, and small appliances like coffee pots move the quickest. The Treasure Chest started as a fun little project and grew from there, says Betty Morgan, who lives at Riderwood and manages the Treasure Chest.

Working order

Betty started volunteering at the Treasure Chest because she previously ran her own arts and crafts shop. Always fascinated by people and their belongings, Betty began pricing items four years ago, and when Rosie Shook, who usually runs the show, took a leave of absence, she knew that Betty was the right person for the job. All items must be accepted, priced, and staged before they re sold. The general rule of acceptance is that the item has to be in good, reasonable, working condition, Betty says. When someone wishes to donate, Betty makes a house call and inspects the items. Betty s favorite part of the job is visiting people in their homes and being helpful; friendships often flourish from this part of the process. Receiving and displaying items are also fun parts of the job. Betty reserves the second and fourth Tuesday of each month for taking items in and rearranging the space. She even makes a list of the items she s accepting so she has space pre-arranged to fit each item. My biggest thing is that the aisles remain open and free of clutter so that people can maneuver easily and see every treasure we have to offer, she says. She prices each item a good bit lower than at antique malls, but sometimes when she s stumped, she turns to online research to get an accurate and fair price.

Serving the community

The Treasure Chest aims to help its community. For the last three years, the thrift shop has raised between $55,000 and $60,000 each year for the community care fund. As a not-for-profit community, Riderwood is dedicated to supporting residents who experience an unforeseen change in financial situation for reasons beyond their control. Riderwood s Home for Life Commitment provides several options to protect residents future (the details are in the Residence and Care Agreement). The Treasure Chest at Riderwood is open to both staff and residents four days a month (two days for employees and two days for residents).