In the spirit of the holidays, I want to share with you a story about giving. It’s about my experience volunteering at the Ticktocker Thrift shop and how much joy it has brought me to work there. I decided to write about it for my National Novel Writing Month project. It will be published in an Anthology through the Palos Verdes Library District and there will be a public reading and book party in January. I am posting the story here because the message is timely and I hope it resonates with you. As I discussed in an earlier blog about happiness, my goal is to seek experiences that make me happier, and this certainly hits the mark!
Working at the Ticktocker Thrift Shop
The holiday season is a time of giving. We buy gifts for family, friends and neighbors to show our love and appreciation for them. Sometimes we spend many hours and too much money searching for the perfect gift. But we do it because it brings us joy to do something for others.
My most meaningful experience of giving this holiday is in a store, but not buying gifts for loved ones. It is working at a different kind of store – a nonprofit thrift shop. The Ticktocker Thrift Shop in San Pedro is run by the Peninsula Chapter of the National Charity League (NCL), a national nonprofit organization of mothers and daughters. Our chapter has 261 active members who live in Palos Verdes. All of the profits from the thrift shop are donated to local charities and scholarships.
My daughter and I belong to NCL and volunteer at the thrift shop. Last year, our chapter donated more than $165,000 to the community from the shop’s proceeds. We gave to more than 20 local philanthropies, such as the Boys & Girls Club, Saints Peter & Paul Poverty Center, and Harbor Community Clinic. By donating items and volunteering our time, we make a difference in our community. .
I love volunteering at the thrift shop because I learn the simple joy of giving. I meet interesting customers and help them find goods at a price they can afford. Spending time getting to know shoppers and answering their questions makes me happy. The thrift shop also teaches my daughter how giving back can serve her community and bring her joy. I recently shared this thrift shop story with her.
The Pink Cape
One day close to Halloween, a customer with pink highlights in her short black hair took my arm.
“Excuse me,” the woman said excitedly. “Can you hold something for me until tomorrow?”
I gazed down at the baby pink, furry piece of cloth with a long, thin satin bow attached. “I’m sorry, we can’t do that. We don’t hold items until the next day,” I replied.
“But I need it for a Halloween costume and I don’t have any money on me. I’m going to be a fairy, and I have this cute ivory lace dress. I’ve been looking all over the place for this pink cape….” She said stroking it lovingly. “It’s $4,” she said showing me the tag. “Would you hold it for me, please?” she asked.
“I can’t do that, but how about if I buy it for you?” I offered.
“Really?” she exclaimed. “That’s so nice of you! Wow, I am so happy right now!”
We walked to the cash register. I noticed her unusually neon pink hair while we waited in line. She caught me staring.
“I dyed my hair pink for breast cancer awareness month. And the pink cape is for a costume party I’m going to. It’s a fundraiser for breast cancer. This cape just makes the costume complete! Thank you again!”
“You’re welcome!,” I said, pleased that each of us was giving back to our community in our own way.
I talked to my daughter about what I learned from this experience. I learned how easy it is to be happy by giving to others. Working at the thrift shop has taught me generosity, compassion and gratitude. When I slip on my blue apron and work, I feel cheerful. Where else can you put on an apron and find happiness? I know my daughter is going to share that simple joy of giving with me.
Let me know what you are grateful for this season. I am certainly grateful for all of you, my readers! Happy Holidays!
PS – Learn more about the Ticktocker Thrift Shop here and plan to come by some time!