Buses full of shoppers support women’s charity at Calgary’s Thrift Crawl event

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A busload of shoppers took advantage of a Saturday morning bargain on a thrift store spree in Calgary.

Organized by the Women in Need Society, or WINS, the event saw 40 people board a bus to visit three of the charity’s thrift stores across the city.

Melissa Mathison, one of the customers, said the event was one she wouldn’t miss.

“Savings is awesome, and not just because you save a ton of money, but it’s also awesome for sustainability,” she said.

« I feel like sustainable fashion is all the rage these days, and more and more people are finding second-hand to be the way to go. »

Melissa Mathison, who attended the WINS Thrift Crawl event, says she sees more and more people turning to thrift shopping as a way to support sustainable fashion. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Cathi Kolochuk, director of social enterprise for WINS, said it was the organization’s first-ever savings bus event – ​​and it was a huge success, with all seats on the bus sold out .

« It’s really amazing the response we got, » she said.

Kolochuk said the event was aimed at raising awareness about WINS and the work done by the organization.

With revenue from WINS thrift stores, the charity runs various community programs. These include a retail and warehouse skills training program for newcomers and those who have been out of work for some time, and a program that provides free essentials like clothing and food to women and men. to families in need.

Increase in demand with rising cost of goods

Kolochuk said the current demand for second-hand items like furniture almost exceeds what the charity’s stores can supply. She said that’s probably partly because of the recent influx of refugees from Ukraine and Afghanistan.

According to Kolochuk, WINS always sees an increase in sales at its thrift stores during tough economic times, and that’s certainly the case now with the rapid increase in the cost of living throughout the country.

“People need what we have to offer, and we really try to provide shopping for them in a very dignified way,” she said. « It’s like any other retail store. »

Kolochuk said there was a range of people at Saturday’s event, as were the variety of customers who visit WINS’ thrift stores.

wins thrift store
WINS has six thrift stores in Calgary. (Helen Pike/CBC)

« Customers who come to our store every day, they come for different reasons. They want to make the world a better place, so they want to shop second-hand and not buy fast fashion. They may be on a budget, so it’s a great place to come. »

WINS distributes about $500,000 worth of free savings products to community members each year, Kolochuk said. The association is currently looking for furniture donations.

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