The Tree of Blessings

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Green Olive Tree urges citizens to only leave donations during open hours.

By Deborah Ferreira and Janet Martin

It has been a very busy time at The Green Olive Tree Thrift Store in Crozet.  As a community, you have blessed us with many donations. Due to your generosity, we donated $68,737 to various charities in 2018. In addition to money donations, we also gave clothing and household goods to families in need who were referred by social workers from our local schools and agencies.

Many people are not aware of the fact that The Green Olive Tree was started by a small group of Christian women in the spring of 1979 and has been exclusively an all-volunteer organization for 39 years. We have two volunteers who are 88 years old. We are grateful when young women and men with abundant energy come on board to volunteer. No matter what age our volunteers are, we work hard together and have so much fun.

Last year, the Olive Tree Board made the decision to hire a shop manager so that there would be more continuity from day to day. We welcomed Deborah Ferreira as our shop manager in September. Deborah has been a resident of Crozet for over 18 years and has a wide range of interests and talents that she brings to our store.

As a non-profit store, we greatly appreciate your donations. In order to make the most of them, we ask that you donate during our store hours between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., but preferably earlier than later so that we have ample time to process them.

When items are dropped off late in the day or when we are closed, we unfortunately return the next morning to find bags and boxes torn open and rummaged through. At times donated items are stolen. Recently we discovered a box of beautiful German china that was crushed by all the bags thrown on top of it despite it being marked “fragile.” In addition to items being damaged and thrown about, the volunteers have to spend precious time cleaning up a mess. If the community would like to see their donations going to a good cause, they are best received during our operation hours.

Many people have asked what we do with unwanted or unsold items. The Green Olive Tree sends clothing to Equipping The Saints in Verona, where a portion is shipped abroad to those in need. Another source is the Vietnam Veterans, who pick up housewares, books, and shoes among other things. Finally, books that we cannot shelve are taken to Harrisonburg Book Savers, who recycle paper, and to our local library for their book sale. Our donations are amazing and abundant. We may be the biggest recycling center in Crozet.

While this makes for a fun treasure hunt for our customers, we don’t always have room for all that is donated. We are in desperate need of a larger store. Unfortunately that has been difficult to find in Crozet, but we continue to look and pray for such a space.

We would like to offer this tip to our donors: Ask yourself the question when you are clutter clearing…”would I buy this item in a thrift store?” If the answer is, “Probably not,” then chances are no one else will buy it either. Many people don’t realize that we have to pay to get rid of broken, moldy and dirty items, which takes away from what we can contribute to our needful recipients.

The Green Olive Tree will celebrate its 40th Anniversary this spring and we look forward to sharing that celebration with you. Due to the community’s generous donations and the hard work of those who volunteer, we can continue to do good in this world. 

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