Once a volunteer…now a shopper

Doris Stout, left, with Second Chance manager Linda Horton.

The Friends of Matheny’s thrift shop, The Second Chance Shop, was open for a one-day preview on Wednesday, August 14, and to say the store was crowded would be an understatement.”It’s like Walmart,” one of the volunteers was overheard commenting.  “There are so many people, we’ll have to call security.”

An unexpected shopper was 93-year-old Doris Stout, a resident of Pottersville, NJ, who was one of the Second Chance Shop’s founding volunteers. “A friend of mine, Betty Martin of Basking Ridge, and I signed up 30 years ago,” she recalled. She gave up her post because, she said, “I can’t stand up for a long time anymore.” But that didn’t stop her from coming back as a customer.

Money raised by the Second Chance Shop is donated to Matheny to be used for equipment, technology and other gifts that directly assist Matheny students and patients. The shop’s new season will resume on Tuesday, September 2.

Sneak peek at Second Chance

Second Chance Shop is ready for business.

“We’re ready to rock!”

With those words, Sandy Harrison of Bedminster, NJ, and Josephine Badger of Gladstone, NJ, put the finishing touches on the merchandise displays in the Second Chance Shop, the thrift shop operated at 4 Church St. in Gladstone by The Friends of Matheny, the auxiliary group that raises funds to benefit Matheny’s students and patients.

On Wednesday, August 13, bargain shoppers will get a preview of the merchandise to be featured this fall during “First Chance at Second Chance,” a one-day reopening of the store from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. According to Linda Horton, the Matheny trustee and Peapack, NJ, resident who manages Second Chance, about 19 volunteers—17 women and two men—worked “to completely fill the shop with fresh merchandise, which is now almost all priced and ready to go.” During Second Chance’s regular selling season, which begins on Tuesday, September 2, about 130 volunteers take turns as salespeople in the shop.

Badger, who retired 12 years ago as the Peapack postmaster, has been volunteering at the shop for about 10 years. “I enjoy seeing people coming in and finding all kinds of treasures,” she said. “And, it’s for a good cause.” Harrison has been volunteering at the shop for about five years. “The best time is Halloween,” she said, “but people also come in looking for items for theme parties. For example, someone was having an Oscar-watching party, and she was looking for all kinds of movie styles.” At the end of the season, everything goes on sale, and Harrison remembers some people who came in “and bought all these clothing items for $1 apiece and sent them to people in need in other countries.”

The Friends of Matheny recently presented Matheny President Steve Proctor with a check for $100,000 from the Second Chance shop’s sales last year. That money will be used in the coming year to acquire equipment, technology and other gifts that directly impact Matheny’s students and patients. Among the items funded this past year by proceeds from Second Chance were “Chill Out Chairs,” used to help with alternate positioning for Matheny students and patients; installation of a video screen/projection system for one of the patient dining rooms; and a wide variety of adaptive devices and equipment.

Josephine Badger, left, and Sandy Harrison.

On pace for a record

From left, customer Ana Norton and volunteers Nina Pellegrino and Theresa Radebaugh.

The Friends of Matheny’s Second Chance thrift shop passed the $100,000 sales mark on Thursday, April 3, the earliest date in the season that this point has ever been reached. The sale that put Second Chance over $100,000 was made a little after 10 a.m. to Ana Norton of Chester, NJ. The two Second Chance volunteers who made the sale were Theresa Radebaugh, also of Chester, and Nina Pellegrino of Bridgewater, NJ. All three received gift certificates for being the lucky buyers and sellers.

Since its inception in 1983, The Friends of Matheny has raised more than $3 million to benefit the students and patients at Matheny. The Second Chance selling season doesn’t end until after Memorial Day, so the shop could be on pace for a record-setting season.

Early start

Teresa Radebaugh, left, and Susan Pospischil.

Business was brisk at First Chance at Second Chance, the August 14th one-day sneak preview of all merchandise to be featured at the Second Chance Shop, the thrift shop operated by The Friends of Matheny, the auxiliary group that raises funds to benefit Matheny’s students and patients.

One of the busiest customers was Susan Pospischil from Defiance, MO, who was visiting Chester, NJ, resident Teresa Radebaugh. Pospischil was buying lots of sweaters and purses to take back to the Midwest, while Radebaugh was buying books and other items for her first grandchild, soon to arrive. During the regular Second Chance season, which resumes on September 3, Radebaugh volunteers at the shop.

The Second Chance Shop is located adjacent to the United Methodist Church on Jackson Avenue in Gladstone, NJ. The Friends of Matheny has raised more than $3 million for Matheny’s students and patients since its inception in 1983.

Record-breaking season

Sylvia Bre, left, receives her $25 gift certificate from Linda Horton, center, Second Chance manager, and Benita Kiell.

When The Friends of Matheny, Matheny’s auxiliary group, moved its Second Chance Thrift Shop from the basement of the United Methodist Church in Gladstone, NJ, to the adjacent Wesley Hall, which is much larger, the expectation was that business would increase. But no one expected it to be this much.

For the 2010-2011 season, the Second Chance Shop raised $85,000 to benefit Matheny. On April 24 of this year, the shop passed the $100,000 mark for the 2011-2012 season, and the season doesn’t end until after Memorial Day.

Sylvia Bre of Swiftwater, PA, bought a pair of shoes for $2, which put the shop over the $100,000 mark. She received a $25 gift certificate, and the two volunteer salespeople on duty – Benita Kiell of Far Hills and Betty Martin of Basking Ridge – were rewarded with $5 gift certificates.

What’s in store

Susan Casarez arranges items in a toy display while Josephson Badger looks on.

Josephine Badger and Susan Casarez couldn’t have led more different lives. Badger retired 10 years ago from the Peapack, NJ, Post Office. Casarez spent three years in the CIA and 20 years in the US Marine Corps. Badger has lived in Gladstone, NJ, for several years. Casarez grew up in Peapack-Gladstone but just moved back to Peapack this past September, after an absence of 33 1⁄2 years, to be closer to her mother.

They do, however, share one common commitment: volunteering at the Second Chance Shop, the thrift shop in Gladstone managed by The Friends of Matheny to raise funds for Matheny. Badger has been working at Second Chance for about seven years, mostly on Friday mornings, although she substitutes when needed. Casarez works every Monday and every fourth and fifth Friday. Badger “enjoys the camaraderie and talking to the people who come in to shop.” Casarez says working at the shop, “just makes me feel good. It’s all for a good cause.”

Through the week of March 3, 2012, the Second Chance Shop had earned more than $79,604 since opening after Labor Day. For the entire 2010-2011 season the shop had earned $88,000. The Friends of Matheny has raised more than $3 million for Matheny since its inception in 1983.