Sweet Repeats Consignment & More sets up donation center for children in need

Published 12:05 am Thursday, October 28, 2021

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By Janie Peterson
For the Clemmons Courier

The season of giving is upon us, and many are feverishly rushing to ensure that gifts for their family arrive on time, due to supply chain shortages.

Meanwhile, local volunteers Patricia Miller and Anne Clancy Thomas are working to ensure more children have a brighter holiday.

Thomas has set up a Christmas tree in her consignment shop, Sweet Repeats Consignment & More, for Operation Christmas Child through the Samaritan’s Purse organization. The tree is decorated with tags of requested items and photos of children in need. This is the fourth consecutive year that Thomas has been involved with Operation Christmas Child, but the first year that she has set up a tree.

“Photographs of some of the children allow people to connect visually or personally to individuals receiving gifts,” Thomas said. “We’ve had several people come in and pull them and they’re taking their children to be able to make choices of what to donate.”

Not only is the program helpful for those receiving gifts, but also serves as an opportunity for parents to teach their children about giving.

“It’s a connection that’s different when you’re giving out of free will. They get to have the excitement of selecting something specific for a different person. They’re 5 or 6 years old picking out something special for that other person across the world who is also 6 years old and would appreciate a gift. It’s a compassion thing,” Thomas said.

Once items are deposited in the shop, Miller comes in regularly to pick them up so that the baskets underneath the tree are not overflowing and taking up too much space on the floor, which is a good problem to have.

“It’s fabulous; it really is. We’ve gotten notebooks, colored pencils, money for shipping, combs, art things. It’s been really nice. It’s always nice to see a variety,” Thomas said.

Donated items are distributed to children ages 2-14 and include toys, school supplies, personal care products, clothes, and jewelry. School supplies are especially appreciated since they can be used by all ages and are often in short supply.

“The majority of individuals that receive one sheet of paper and one pencil will write down, erase, write down, and erase until they wear that paper out,” Thomas said.

Another item in demand are small women’s T-shirts for girls that are starting to mature and outgrow their old clothes. Gender and age neutral items such as toothbrushes and socks are also good items to donate because they are versatile and can be given to any child. Those who come into the store will receive a more specific list of items they can donate.

In addition to the Christmas gifts, children will also receive a Bible and will be presented with the story of Jesus Christ.

Operation Christmas Child takes place for only about two months out of the year, but Thomas and her associates donate clothing and furniture to other organizations such as Just Hope (Mocksville), greeNest (Winston-Salem), and The Shalom Project (Winston-Salem) throughout the year.

“Each of us rotate. There’s four of us that have all been here a long time and we take things to various groups. We toss it in our cars and head over really on a weekly basis. We love it. It serves so many purposes. Anything that is not in good condition we don’t donate — if it has a hole in it or a huge stain — because no one wants to get anything that is dirty or torn. We’ve got a lot of things that once they expire seasonally, they’re still in great condition,” Thomas said.

Sweet Repeats generally tries to keep their efforts local, but they love the idea of Operation Christmas Child and want to help in any way they can.

“We try to stay in our local community with what we do and how we give our proceeds and have fundraisers. This is the only program we do that entails going abroad. But, of course, for a good cause,” Thomas said.

They are constantly looking for other local groups that want donations or need help.

“There is enough to go around. There always is,” Thomas said.

Collection this year is taking place a little earlier than usual due to concerns about shipping being slowed down; it began in September and will wrap up Nov. 8. Thomas and her associates will gather the items, pack them into the brightly colored shoe boxes, and deliver them to a Samaritan’s Purse collection point, River Oaks Community Church in Clemmons, during the National Collection Week, Nov. 15-22. For more information about how to get involved, stop by Sweet Repeats Consignments & More 3406 Kinnamon Village in Clemmons or go to the Samaritan’s Purse website.