On Wednesday afternoon Off Center Thrift & Gift was teeming with people, but they weren’t the usual shoppers hunting for a good deal. They were the volunteers, contributors, and board of directors that have made the local thrift shop a philanthropic powerhouse in the Turlock community.
Since its establishment in 2007, Off Center Thrift & Gift has donated more than $503,000 to local nonprofits to fill an assortment of needs in the community from sober grad nights to theater productions to crisis centers.
Perhaps one of the most important of the store’s donations has been towards the Turlock Chaplaincy which has afforded the organization a new set of wheels. According to Chaplain David Williams the vehicle, which bears the store’s name and was parked outside Off Center on Wednesday, has allowed the chaplains to attend to the needs of locals under emotional distress such as first responders and their families.
“The chaplaincy has grown and they needed a vehicle to get to emergency situations,” said Off Center Thrift & Gift President Sylvia Cox.
Cox also noted that the general success of the store’s fundraising, the amount of which is kept track of behind the cash register on a large blackboard, is attributed to the “strong network of volunteers and the dedicated board members.”
While the store has maintained its current location since its inception seven years ago, the vision of the fundraising has radically changed. Initially the ladies of Off Center knew they wanted to donate to the local community, but they didn’t know exactly where to start.
“We were too emotionally invested,” recalled Cox on Wednesday. “We needed direction.”
Cue Mike Brem.
Long before the name Brem became associated with the ongoing mayoral race, Brem served as Chairman of the store’s C.A.R.E. Committee, which stands for Community, Awareness, Research, Etc. By seeking counsel from Brem the store could now donate with focus as a private nonprofit establishment.
“Stores like this are what make Turlock a great place to live,” said Brem.
Off Center Thrift & Gift is located at 410 E. Olive Avenue and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.