WESTFIELD, NJ — For nearly two decades The Hope Chest has been collecting donated goods to resell to the community and surrounding areas, donating all proceeds to The Center for Hope Hospice and Palliative Care in Scotch Plains.
TAPinto Westfield TV caught up with store manager, Helga Thomas, to learn more about this Downtown Westfield staple.
Everything sold here, other than what goes toward the rent and the lights and the telephone, goes to The Center for Hope, according to store manager Helga Thomas. The store operates with the help of about 45 volunteers and contributes about $50,000 to $60,000 annually to The Center for Hope, she said. Combined with a wine event and fashion show, Thomas estimates that the Auxiliary contributes close to $100,000 per year.
Patrons of the shop can find anything from household essentials to children’s clothing to home décor to elaborate costume jewelry. Perhaps the most impressive collection is an entire wall of delicate stemware and glass with impossible-to-beat prices that often include a complete set.
Shoppers quickly become regulars who anticipate the arrival of new donations. Thomas believes that about three quarters of shoppers are from Westfield, with the remaining shoppers coming from throughout the county. With the store’s Downtown Westfield location, Thomas has also met out-of-towners who just happen to pass by. Most shoppers are “people who just love thrift stores and plowing though stuff and finding treasures,” said Thomas.
Thomas retired from a career in school administration and decided that the hospice charity was where she wanted to dedicate her time.
“The families, after the person passes in our care, they then become big champions of the store and come in and donate and buy and are supportive of our other functions, also,” Thomas said.