Friday, November 25, 2016

Saving Money and Contributing to Worthy Causes During the Holidays

Saving Money and Contributing to Worthy Causes During the Holidays! 

    Charitable causes and giving should be on our minds all year, but the period from Thanksgiving
to Christmas is when we think of it most.   I have always donated money, clothing, household wares, food to causes. I have always liked Thrift stores. I've always been artsy craftsy.  It was not until recently that I learned how rewarding it could be to combine  all three!  It has the added benefit of
taking money away from the retail giants,and spending money in stores where the funds do a great 
deal of good.  

        I have recently started going to various thrift stores in my area before going to the retail
 craft store for supplies.  I like vintage items and retro stuff. No better way to find these things than
digging through someone else's cast off "junk".   It is like a treasure hunt.  My grandkids have gotten
in on the fun also.  I have been teaching them about how the monies go to help feed people, clothe the poor, provide housing for the homeless, care for unwanted animals, etc.  

         I have been enjoying creating unique, inexpensive, beautiful items for my home. I have also
been creating inexpensive,one of a kind items to give as gifts!  Candles, wreaths, floral arrangements, gift baskets, all kinds of neat things.  

 I have about $7 total in this wreath. It took me 20 minutes to make it.  The candle is Red Apple.
Materials all but the candle and the ribbon were purchased at various thrift stores.  Ribbon $4 from Michael's. Candle $5 from Wal-Mart.  The same candle from Yankee Candle Co. costs $25 or more!
 Teddy Bear and Toy wreath.... I have about $10 in this.  Took me about 45 min. to make.
All but the ribbon came from Thrift Stores.
Terrarium Christmas scene.. I made this today in 20 minutes.
I was able to get the artificial snow, bells, and ribbon from the thrift store.  
The rest I had to purchase retail.  still saved me money.

The artificial snow cost me $1.  Bag of this retail is $5
Ribbon  50 cents. Retail is $2
Bells 50 cents.  Retail is $3

    Red Riding Hood Doll. I got the basket, the doll, the doll stand, a red cashmere sweater, a velvet blazer, the red ribbon from thrift stores.  The colorful Bavarian trim and the print material for the skirt I purchased from Etsy.  She cost me about $11 to make. 

Two monsters I drew then brought to life using mostly thrift store items.  I purchased velour sweaters for $1 each from the Salvation Army store's going out of business sale.  I have about $9 in both monsters.  I was able to purchase most of the material from thrift.  

Maryville has some good thrift stores that help lots of different causes. 
Here are some of my favorites with a little bit about what they do to help our world. 

KARM Thrift Stores --K.A.R.M. stands for Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries

This is one of my favorites.   They are the most pricey for a thrift store, but they also do the most in our area.  They are more selective about the merchandise they put out for sale.  Not snooty, but particular.  It is the cleanest, best organized, best staffed.  Lots of them around Knoxville and surrounding counties.  They are a Christian based ministry and support the spreading of the gospel of Christ.  They have a homeless shelter, they feed and cloth people, they have coats for the cold program. They also help provide shelter for women and children who are fleeing abusive home situations.  They help the homeless get retrained for jobs and back into housing and back into society.
Crossroads Welcome Center provides showers, bathrooms, access to phones, computers, referrals for those who need help getting clean and sober from substance abuse, storage for belongings.
I donate to them. I shop from them.  They offer a 25% off coupon for each donation on your receipt.
I no longer use it because in doing so I take away from the ministry, but it is a nice perk for those who need it or want it.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store  The Salvation Army will always be special to me. They have the lowest overhead of any charitable agency hands down.  They are a Christian based program to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are His hands and heart at work.  Our area store closed in September and thus far has not re-opened, but they are in Knoxville and other areas nearby.
They provide substance abuse rehab, food, clothing, shelter, veterans assistance, elderly programs,
missing persons programs.. helping unite families, combating human trafficking, prison ministries,
youth recreation centers and camps,  international sponsorship programs, disaster relief.
I love these folks so when I see the bell ringer with the red kettle outside a store at Christmas I have my money ready in hand to give.  

Goodwill Thrift Stores-- our town is fortunate enough to have two of these!  Both are good, both are huge!  Goodwill helps put people back to work. They train people, they help with resumes, they help with job searches, they create jobs.  They accept ANYTHING you donate except the things the law won't let them take like mattresses.   Our Browns Creek store is clean, well organized, friendly staff, 
convenient location.  

Four Chics and a Cat-- I love this place!  They have animals in the store including a one eyed cat!
They have some great stuff at great prices.  The have such good deals if you see something in there you want ... better get it now. You'll come back and it will be sold!  They take anything and everything except mattresses.  The provide fund raising assistance to animal welfare groups in our area.  

All Creatures Thrift Store-- supports the Blount County Human Society. Helps animals.
It helps provide protection, assistance, food, shelter, vet care, rescue, forever homes, to all kinds of animals.  It smells funky because of the cats, but the store is neat, has a wide assortment of items,
friendly staff, good value on the items.  I believe in what they stand for as I am an animal lover.

Community Chest Blount County--Community Chest ministries helps sell items to the area residents at a low price that nearly anyone can afford. Household goods, clothing, toiletries,  all good stuff and some vintage items!  The monies go to help support the FISH hospitality pantry to help feed people who need nourishment.  Ours is in Eagleton Village.  The staff is very nice and the store is a cool place to browse.  

Habitat For Humanity RE-Store-- This place is so popular that sometimes you can barely get around
in the store!  Clothing, appliances, toys, books, craft items, shoes, home decoration, furniture.
They accept all kinds of donations.  Habitat Re stores help repair damaged homes that need maintenance. They help people become home owners by building houses. Six new Habitat houses have been constructed 2 miles from me. They are great looking!  The sell items at low prices to help support their charitable works, but they also get all kinds of items out there where folks can afford them!   

     Before you spend your dollars giving to big stores and franchise operations... 
Shop local. Shop small. Shop area thrift stores when you can to support these fantastic causes.
I have made it a habit year round.  It is fun. I save money and feel good about the money I do spend going to worthwhile causes in my own area!  I believe it is what the Lord would want me to do.  
Back in the 80s there was a benefit concert for world hunger and poverty relief.  I am including it with this post, because the spirit of generosity and giving should always be with us here and around the world.  It is a good reminder.

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