Thrift stores working to resume operations for charities, shoppers

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As retailers are being gradually allowed to start opening their doors again to people looking to buy, the Salvation Army locations in Rhode Island say they’re set to reopen on Wednesday.

The Providence, Woonsocket, and West Warwick Salvation Army thrift store proceeds benefit the Christian charity’s assistance programs, which have continued to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic while the stores were ordered to close. Nationwide, the agency estimates it assists 23 million people a year.

Other thrift stores in the area are also in the process of reopening — or adjusting operations — for those seeking gently used items.

In Bristol, the East Bay Food Pantry’s thrift shop returned to business Monday, stipulating that only five shoppers can be in the store at the same time, and all must wear face masks.

In Westerly, the thrift store of the Jonnycake Center is taking its offerings online with a form of personal shopper service: they’ve posted photos of multiple items on their Facebook page and will take orders by email, collecting payment over the phone. Sales there benefit the Jonnycake Center’s social services and food pantry.

Goodwill of Southern New England, which operates stores in South Attleboro and throughout Connecticut, said Tuesday they are in the process of reducing store occupancy and changing many aisles to one-way traffic. Proceeds at Goodwill stores benefit job training and placement services, with a focus on assisting people with disabilities or other barriers to employment.

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