S.A.V.E. Thrift Store saves seniors from college expenses

Rachel Smith, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Down below the high school, hidden on a tiny road between looming tree’s is a grey building, the S.A.V.E. (Seahawks Academic & Vocational Education) Thrift Store. Although small, the S.A.V.E. Thrift Store has provided numerous benefits for Peninsula High School students since 1985 when Avon Gay and other mothers in the area created the store, but even now many are not aware of its importance to the community.

“All of the proceeds go to the high school. Some money goes towards the manager and the assistant managers to make sure a good job gets done and some goes towards taking care of the store, but the rest goes to the high school. Also, it helps out people, like me, get in lots of volunteer hours,” Anna Lee said, a current senior at Peninsula High School, and a volunteer at the thrift store.

The Thrift Store is a non profit, whose proceeds go towards senior scholarships for graduating Peninsula students. Because of the thrift store, all seniors regardless of whether they have volunteered at the thrift store are able to receive funds to go towards their future plans.


“If you do the scholarship notebook, you are guaranteed to get at least $300. If you don’t get any scholarships from outside donors, SAVE will give you a $300 one or if you do get a scholarship from an outside donor, but it’s for less than $300 dollars, they will give you a scholarship to make sure you get a total of $300,” Lee said. Lee was a recent recipient of one of the two available $1000 scholarships for volunteering, along with a $800 SAVE scholarship for her many hours of service at the store.


The thrift store is only run by a manager and two assistant managers, whose presence helps to provide the funds from the store to go towards scholarships.


“It’s all for scholarships for graduating seniors of Peninsula, the scholarships can be used for trade schools, vocational, technical, and four and two year universities,” Kathy Bronsal said, the manager of the store.


Because of the limited amount of employees, the presence of volunteers enables the thrift store to continue to give back to the community. Volunteers vary in age, from high school seniors to elderly community members.


“It can be up to 6 or 7 volunteers every day and 2 to 3 students. Alot of the volunteers are parents and grandparents of kids that have gone to Peninsula. I started here as a parent and I stayed on and actually got hired on as an assistant manager.The biggest volunteers here are Peg Horton who is an assistant manager and her husband Bob, who comes in to run the cash register one a week. Robin Luckbill. Paul, he comes in every wednesday,” Kendra Zartman said, one of the assistant managers of the store.


Along with volunteers, donations are necessary for the store.


“We take pretty much everything. We try not to take things like couches where we need a bunch of storage. The biggest donations we get are clothes then kitchen stuff, bathroom stuff, kids toys,” Zartman said.

While many of the volunteers are adults, Lee has been one of the few students to use a majority of her time volunteering at the store.


“I’ve been volunteering since last September for my Explorer 200 class at TCC. I started volunteering all day saturday for 6 hours and then I took the friday afternoon shift because they needed a cashier. For a while there I was volunteering 9 hours a week, but recently I’ve been too busy and only volunteer on the Friday shift for 3 hours. I have over 200 volunteer hours from volunteering at the thrift store now,” Lee said.


Unlike Lee, most of the student volunteers come from activity groups such as clubs or sports to fulfill their requirement for community service that can only be fulfilled by volunteering at the SAVE thrift store.


“The students at Peninsula, all the groups come and volunteer and get scholarships at the end of their senior year. Each group will get an allotted amount of money to give to their students that work here.” Zartman said.


Although, the profits earned at the SAVE thrift store go towards senior scholarships, the Peninsula Hawks Scholarship Fund (PHSF), the scholarship committee, is in charge of distributing the money. Activity groups that come and volunteer earn $1500 a month if they volunteer for each shift every day of the month that they have signed up for, then after the group has received the money, the funds are divided among the students that volunteered, some getting a little more than others, depending on how many hours they volunteered.


“Clubs decide how it’s divided, either for scholarships or club expenses. But if people don’t show up they get deductions, they must attend all shifts and any of the activity groups are eligible to volunteer, they just need a contract and a coordinator to do that,” said Nan Stonestreet, a volunteer at the SAVE thrift store and a board member of PHSF.


Daisy Jane Darling is another fellow student volunteer, who began volunteering when she was involved in an activity group (the swim team) but has continued since then, helping sort clothes and organize bookshelves, helping with anything that is needed.


“I’ve volunteered a few times in the last two years, for swim and just because. Each girl is required to do two shifts before the end of the season and when we sign up and do it we get scholarship money. One shift has a certain amount of money that goes with it. The more you do, the more scholarship money you have. Now, I volunteer when I can. I don’t have that much free time,” Darling said.


Lee, however, balances an assortment of jobs along with being in charge of the cash register.


“I love being the cashier. I typically ring people up, take donations and give information out. Since it’s not that busy, I help out a lot with tagging kids clothes and making sure it’s clean. I also make string tags and collect hangers, but I still have lots of free time. It’s never too busy on Fridays, I don’t have more than one or two customers at a time until 10 minutes before closing and then everyone floods in, about 5 people. It’s pretty laid back,” Lee said.


In addition, to earning volunteer hours Lee also receives other perks.


“I get to meet all kinds of people and I get lots of time to peruse the shelves and shop. There are some pretty cool things that pop by and as volunteers, we get first pick. You also get a 25% discount if you are a regular volunteer. I can  study and do homework during a lot of my time, it’s a great way to study and get volunteer hours at the same time,” Lee said.


Darling, through her years of experience also has feelings similar to Lee’s, the thrift store is an overall positive place to volunteer at.


“I like the people, they’re all sweet and nice and funny,” Darling said.


The SAVE thrift store is open on monday through saturday, from 10 am to 4 pm. It’s profit varies, depending on the amount of customers but every purchase and donation makes a positive impact on the high school and its students. However, the store is continuously in need of student help. And in addition to the perks that volunteers receive, students also have the opportunity to give back and support the organization that supports them.