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At Assistance League Thrift Shop in Richfield, everyone contributes to the cause

How a nonprofit Richfield thrift store is making a difference
How a nonprofit Richfield thrift store is making a difference 02:19

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A metro nonprofit makes a difference by meeting unmet needs in the community for women and children. 

Most of Assistance League of Minneapolis/St. Paul's funding comes from sales at its Thrift Shop in Richfield. The store manager took WCCO's Jennifer Mayerle behind the scenes.

Store manager Ann Derby keeps the racks full. But this isn't your ordinary store. Everything inside once belonged to someone else. 

"Everything in here is a donation. And some of it is incredibly expensive donations, but they're done using it I guess," Derby said.

There's two sides to the operation. Donations to the Assistance League Thrift Shop come in one door. 

That's where the sorting happens. There are tubs of shoes and racks of clothes from daily drop-offs.

Pricing stays behind the scenes.

Next door is the Thrift Shop run by members of the all-volunteer nonprofit. What's collected here through sales benefits the community.

"Most of our money goes to fund programs here in Richfield, St. Paul and Minneapolis," Derby said.

The nonprofit operates philanthropic programs in food, clothing, education and literacy. People say they come in for the lower price and the one of a kind find.

"Whatever I can. I never have anything in particular. It's always fun to look," one shopper said.

Another said she was looking for "500-piece puzzles for my dad. He's 91 and he loves doing puzzles."

Everyone here contributes to the cause.

"I come every week, I never miss it," said one woman.

And while it's about making an impact. Members say they keep things light. Making the space an inviting place to feel good about where you shop.

"Everybody needs purpose, I love giving purpose to other people, as well, to boost a customer's morale one day with a new outfit," Derby said.

Mayerle serves on the Advisory Council for Assistance League of Minneapolis St. Paul. The Thrift Shop is on Penn Avenue South across from the Richfield water tower. There's also an online store for higher end items.

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