Enjoy hunting for a great bargain? Want to help out a worthy cause? Look no further than one of Seattle’s many charity stores. Bargain hunters can furnish a house, equip a kitchen or clothe an entire family, all for a reasonable price, and budget-conscious fashionistas can root out fabulous one-of-a-kind pieces, including vintage or designer couture. Best of all, these shops benefit not only consumers but also the community at large, because the proceeds fund charitable activities, from feeding the hungry to providing critical health and counseling services. Here’s how these five outstanding local stores help to make a difference.
Bike Works Bike Shop
3709 S Ferdinand St.
Seattle, WA 98118
With a huge inventory of used adults’ and kids’ bicycles of every variety, this Columbia City shop offers terrific deals for budget-minded cyclists. Bike Works not only refurbishes old donated bikes, saving them from landfills and recycling any usable parts, this nonprofit also builds community through different youth and adult programs centered around bicycles, promoting healthier lifestyles, environmentalism, leadership and community engagement. Kids aged 9-17 participating in the Earn-A-Bike program learn bike mechanics and put in community service hours repairing bikes to earn their own refurbished bike. The organization teaches classes on road safety and bike maintenance, leads youth rides and bicycle tours and makes bike riding readily accessible to all. To support the nonprofit’s work, consider not only buying bikes here but donating old bicycles, especially kids’ bikes, as well as parts and accessories.
15835 Westminster Way N.
Shoreline, WA 98133
www.seattlechildrens.orgRummage through the racks of clothing and the shelves of housewares at this North Seattle store, and you won’t just come away with unique finds such as antiques, vintage clothing or artwork. You’ll also be helping one of the top-ranked children’s hospitals in the nation. A full 100 percent of the profits from the Seattle Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutiques goes to support the hospital’s mission. Look for other locations in Redmond, Bainbridge, Port Townsend, Kent and Olympia. You can also call the number above to schedule a donation pick-up.
Lifelong Thrift Store
1017 E. Union St.
Seattle, WA& 98122
Hip, friendly and decorated with colorful paper lamps and parasols, this spacious thrift store in the First Hill neighborhood invites shoppers to browse unhurriedly through the neat racks of clothing, the sizeable book and media section and a home section loaded with board games, sofas and the odd antique typewriter. Proceeds from the Lifelong Thrift Store support Lifelong AIDS Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works with people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions to provide them with essentials such as insurance, healthy meals and a safe place to live. Lifelong also educates the public and raises awareness through events such as Dining Out for Life and the annual Seattle AIDS Walk.
Bellevue LifeSpring Thrift Shop
167 Bellevue Square
Bellevue, WA 98004
Since 1947, this little thrift shop located on the main level of the Bellevue Square mall has helped fund the social service programs run by the nonprofit Bellevue LifeSpring. The store offers great deals on new and used goods donated by local businesses and individuals, particularly housewares, collectibles, jewelry and clothing for men, women and children, with plenty of designer brands. Originally founded back in 1911 as Overlake Service League, the organization has steadfastly followed its mission of addressing the basic needs of struggling families in Bellevue, ranging from food to rent and utilities assistance to summer school scholarships for kids. It also gives job seekers a boost by distributing store vouchers to buy smart work attire that they otherwise couldn’t afford.
Mercer Island Thrift Shop
7710 S.E. 34th St.
Mercer Island, WA 98040
Located just south of the main commercial district on Mercer Island, this friendly thrift store packs a huge variety of donated goods into its two large floors: furniture, housewares, strollers, toys, books, media, appliances, sports equipment and plenty of name-brand clothing and shoes for the whole family. Whether you’re searching for used golf clubs or Michael Kors pumps, odds are that you can find it at the Mercer Island Thrift Shop. All of the revenue generated from the shop helps fund Mercer Island Youth & Family Services, which provides social services to Mercer Island residents. From at-risk youth to the elderly, those in need can find relief from hunger, financial assistance, career advice, summer camp and preschool scholarships and counseling.
Related: Best Thrift Stores In Seattle
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Elisa Mader is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.