Volunteers Sought for FCS Thrift Boutique

Long Branch Store Launches Social Media Pages, Announces New Hours

LONG BRANCH, NJ, January 11, 2011 – Family & Children’s Service (FCS), Monmouth County’s oldest non-profit social service agency, is seeking volunteers to staff its popular Thrift Boutique in Long Branch. The upscale retail shop, now in its third year at its current location at 307 Branchport Avenue, is experiencing a surge in interest from budget-conscious consumers and self-proclaimed “thrifters” looking for bargains, and is seeking dedicated volunteers to help keep costs down, and proceeds up.

Volunteers Sought for Family & Children’s Services Thrift BoutiqueThere are many benefits derived from volunteering at the Thrift Boutique. Volunteers can set their hours according to their own schedules, working just a few hours a month, or several times a week. They can volunteer alone, or with a group of friends, and they receive 25% off of all in-store purchases. While previous retail experience is not necessary, all volunteers must undergo a background check.

“It’s a team effort,” says store manager Christine Misita, the only paid employee at the Thrift Boutique. “Our volunteers do everything, from unpacking and unloading the boxes of donated items, to pricing and displaying new merchandise. It’s a great place to gain retail experience, make new friends and make a difference in the community.”

Recently, volunteers from the Old Navy stores at the Freehold and Monmouth Malls spent the morning at the Thrift Boutique, lending their expertise in merchandising and sales. They were delighted at how organized and professional the store appeared, even before they began to work their magic. That’s no surprise to FCS President & CEO Vincent D’Elia.

“Shoppers who come into the Thrift Boutique for the first time are often surprised by the quality of merchandise.” D’Elia says. “They are expecting throw-away items, but merchandise is only placed on the selling floor if it is in excellent condition.”

The store accepts donations of new and gently used men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, linens and household items. Since donations are received daily, the selection of merchandise is constantly changing, presenting a challenge to the non-profit shop. For-profit retailers can turn to advertising to get the word out about upcoming sales and new merchandise. The Thrift Boutique must look for more cost-effective means of communication, which is why it recently launched a Facebook www.facebook.com/thethriftboutique and Twitter www.twitter.com/thriftboutiques page.

D’Elia says the store often times carries high-end items, such as designer shoes, handbags, even gold jewelry, much of it brand new. It’s received donations of new furniture and sporting goods equipment, including a two-person kayak, outdoor patio furniture and collectible artwork. Most recently, it began carrying greeting cards. At the same time, the Thrift Boutique continues to serve the local community, stocking many of the essentials for daily living at a fraction of the original retail price.

Beginning this month, the Thrift Boutique will open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. on weekdays. It will also open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations will be accepted during regular business hours only. To make a donation of furniture, or to volunteer, contact store manager, Christine Misita at 732-728-1238. For more information about FCS or to learn how you can make a difference for those in need, visit www.fcsmonmouth.org.