Catholic Gift & Thrift – the Repurpose Shoppe
by Cate Murway

If the national media is any indication, more people are embracing the notion of buying used clothing from thrift stores and consignment shops.
Perhaps you have never experienced thrift store shopping. You are then truly missing out on one of the fun adventures in life, the random, serendipity factor! They are a veritable gold mine. Thrift shops are often popular with people who are frugal, people who live on a limited or fixed income, and collectors seeking overlooked antiques and collectibles.

Be prepared to dig! It often is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack [you just may manage to find a decent, working turntable, with a good needle!]. But if you can enjoy it for what it is, an adventure, it can truly be a treasure hunt. It’s more important to be patient, to browse the racks methodically.
Oh, and of course, you have the pleasure of knowing you are providing funds for the non-profit, Holy Family Ministries, Inc., the charity behind the thrift store, as well as helping out the environment.

Elizabeth “Betty” McGlinchey Fyke labors in non-profit organization management. Starting back in November ‘99, Betty worked on producing radio, targeted to adult spiritual education and TV broadcasts, in the building that was to become the start of her thrift shop in Bensalem. The 5 Pond Street store is her second location in Bristol Borough. She became enamored with this historic town on the Delaware after her first trip to Fátima, Portugal, famous for the religious visions that took place there in 1917. She and her husband, Edward C., a landscaper and retired Philadelphia fire officer, knew no one on the plane.
When they returned from this trip, they attended a First Saturday Mass at St. Mark Church and they realized that all the people who were on the plane were in the Church.
This group was the start of the World Apostolate of Fatima, Greater NE Chapter for Betty. She started working on a radio station WIBF FM, and is now on the air with Gospel 800 WTMR “Where the Master Reigns” Camden NJ, a program spiritually beneficial for the people that join together in prayer.
Michael La Corte, Executive Director of the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA pays for the airtime.

The Fykes have been married since they were 16 years old, first residing in Philadelphia and they are Holland residents now. Their youngest daughter, Mary Elizabeth wanted the house with the big pool. Betty just wanted a basement and Ed wanted the suburbs. Their large family also includes daughters, psychologist Rachael, who sings at St. Ephrem Church in Bensalem on Sunday and also for weddings, and Sherry, a former professional vocalist, who sang with “Danny and the Juniors” and was a backup singer for Amy Grant. Their sons are the late Edward C. IV, and Joe and Jeff, who are fireman.

This radio, Internet and television lay apostolate dedicated to the Message of Our Lady of Fatima now “sells casserole dishes and asks people to pray on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1:00 P.M.” Saturday's child works hard for a living.
Betty will be doing interviews for the production of “Upbeat Kids” in Bristol that is slated to begin in September on Catholic TV. She is avidly searching for guitarists with original children’s music or music that can be used for children, who can volunteer and help with the show. Daughters, Rachael and Mary Elizabeth host “Upbeat Kids”.

Betty’s Ford 150 green pickup truck hauls the items donated by her “listeners” to the Catholic Gift & Thrift. These items help the needy in the neighborhood. Some of the donations also assist the ministry of the Blessed Margaret of Castello Home for crisis pregnancies. This Home offers pregnant women with no place else to turn, a home and supportive services in a safe and healthy environment until they give birth.

Please call if you have donations. Catholic Gift & Thrift is a non-profit 501C3.
Children’s clothing and coats are really needed.

“Thrifting” is a fun [go with a friend] and insanely inexpensive leisure activity — and it’s not only great for the wallet, it’s also a good deed, providing funds for various charities as well as keeping perfectly usable goods out of landfills and incinerators to provide a few more years of service. Environmentalists may prefer buying second-hand goods as this uses fewer natural resources and would appear do less damage to the environment than by buying new goods, in part because the goods are usually collected locally.

Think of it as recycling. The Catholic Gift & Thrift is proud that their business is playing an important role in supporting neighborhoods with quality resale items at affordable prices, in addition to benefiting the environment by investing in reusing and recycling, long before this concept became an environmental imperative.

Another of Betty’s missions is to positively impact our local community through the Thrift Store operations. It’s a great place to donate your unneeded, unwanted household items and furniture.  They gladly accept gently used or new home décor items, clothing, jewelry, tools, toys, electronics, appliances, bric-a-brac and books.
Give back. Don’t forget to drop off items you no longer use or need. Most of us have an accumulated pile of stuff to give away “someday”. When you’re heading to the thrift store, pack it up and take it with you.

Volunteers are truly treasured!
Nancy Chambers shared, “I shopped there and saw that she [Betty] needed help, so I volunteered. When you do good things for other people, it comes back to you.”
Maria [Salerno] Raccagno, BHS class of ’68 grew up on Spring Street. She loves Bristol. Maria comes in to help unpack the donations because “it’s fun!”

Interested in finding unique decorations and furniture? Each thrift store has a totally different inventory. Come wade and sort through tons of games and books, CDs, just about any electronic device created 5 years ago and earlier, lamps, wall art, decorations, antiques, kitchenware, curtains, kids toys, clothing, and the list goes on - you never know quite what treasure you will find. You can find some rare gems.

Take a peek through their clothing racks and you might be rewarded with some terrific finds of retro fashions.  Allow yourself to experiment and be creative with your wardrobe. Mix some old and new fabulous pieces and create your very own eclectic look that can’t be copied by anyone else. Check out the accessories and keep your personal style in mind. It's a terrific way to catch a good bargain. Why pay more if there’s no need. It’s frugal fashion. Tops are $.50, pants for $.50, skirts are a buck!
If anybody asks where you got something, you can reply, "I know this exclusive boutique in historic Bristol on the Delaware."

For Halloween, the store can be a veritable treasure trove of costuming elements just waiting to be assembled into a kitschy whole. Old vintage clothes are popular for use as costumes. If you're creative, the sky is the limit.

It's not just about clothes. Look for hidden potential in items. One of the fun things about thrifting is that you will see things that lend themselves to uses quite different from their original intended functions. Think outside the box store.
A suitcase can act as a coffee table, a crate can be turned sideways to hold kitchen items, etc. Keep your eyes (and always your mind) open for objects that just might fill a need in an unusual and interesting way. Think creatively. Mismatched silverware and dishes work well in a play kitchen. Have fun!
A favorite item to pick up on the cheap at thrift stores could be cookie tins. Use them to decorate your kitchen or make a batch of cookies, toss them in a tin, and use it as a delicious and very appreciated last-minute hostess or holiday gift with no wrapping or ribbon required.

Thrift stores ROCK. They create a sense of community across economic lines.
Give it a go. But it comes with a warning - it is addictive!

Catholic Gift & Thrift
5 Pond Street
Bristol, PA
11:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Elizabeth “Betty” McGlinchey Fyke