Each week, volunteers at the Summerland Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store sort through the items in the donation bins behind the building, sometimes finding some rather unusual items.
Vivian Beattie, a thrift store volunteer, said the store once received a purple Christmas tree. To this day, staff still shake their heads when they try to understand why someone would have had a tree in that colour in the first place.
Diane Prentice, a volunteer at the store, recalled the time when a customer found a 10-pin bowling ball on the store shelves.
“Not only did it fit him perfectly, but it even had his name engraved on it,” she recalled. “And of course he was a 10-pin bowler.”
But the most memorable moments for the thrift store volunteers have to do with the customers in the store rather than the donations they have received.
Prentice said a woman with a three-year-old daughter once gave a $5 tip for purchases totalling $7 or $8.
“I commented on her generosity, and she said she always leaves a tip when she shops at our store,” Prentice said. “Then she told me that when her daughter was born, she was told the baby would only live a few hours. A piece of equipment, that we had only just donated to the Penticton Regional Hospital, was used to save her life, and the (perfectly normal) little girl beside her was the result. The story still brings tears to my eyes. And that was roughly 10 years ago.”
Prentice also remembers one of the most generous tips the store received, when the store had bag days, offering $1 for a bag of items.
A customer paid for the bag with a $50 bill — $1 for the purchase and a $49 tip.
“It may not be the biggest tip the shop has ever had given. But it’s the biggest I’ve seen come across the counter, from one donor,” Prentice said.
The store is open each Tuesday to Saturday, from 1 to 4 p.m.
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