An Elf Tradition


Elf hiding in plain sight in boys room at Pearl S. Buck HouseHave you ever wondered how Santa knows who is naughty and who is nice?

Well, we have the answer…

The Elf on the Shelf

Every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, each family’s Scout Elf watches over the children and then at night, once everyone goes to bed, the elf flies back to the North Pole to report back to Santa about what activities, good and bad, took place throughout the day.

Boy's room at Pearl S. Buck House Festival of Trees 2012Before the family wakes up each morning, the scout elf flies back from the North Pole and hides. By hiding in a new spot each morning around the house, the scout elf and the family play an on-going game of hide and seek.

This holiday season, we have shared the Elf on the Shelf tradition as Impact Thrift Stores again has the honor of decorating one of the many beautiful rooms at the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie, PA. One of the two boy’s bedrooms on the second floor is now the residence of a variety of elves… causing mischief and mayhem… usually while we sleep!

an elf takes a ride on the train at Pearl S. Buck House Festival of Trees 2012All of the Christmas decorations, elves and toys, are reminiscent of or authentic to the time period of the 1940’s and all are gathered from your generous donations to Impact Thrift Stores!

Take a look at the photos and please, plan to visit the house during this holiday season!  The Pearl S. Buck Holiday Festival of Trees is a spectacular holiday tradition for you and your family.

Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.” ― Pearl S. Buck

Celebrate the holidays at the Pearl S. Buck House by touring the 34th Annual Festival of Trees November 13 – December 30, 2012. For more information about the Festival of Trees including times and admission fees, click here.

For more information about Pearl S. Buck International, visit

~Room decor designed and installed by Heather Hamilton and Tamika Miller.

A (minor) Holiday Dilemma Solved!


Christmas CookiesDo you have a fall baking tradition? A favorite recipe for a cake or cookies? Something that everyone looks forward to?

In our family, it is Grandma’s Apple Cake… layers of fresh apples, firm cake and warm cinnamon… yum! My mother now carries on the tradition of baking a Grandma’s Apple Cake for every occasion from family gatherings to holiday parties. We all look forward to the delicious cake and the wonderful memories it sparks.

Now the dilemma… what to carry and serve the cake on? Do you bring the cake to a friend’s home on one of your favorite serving plates? a dinner plate? in a cake carrier? Then, how do you politely ask for the plate back after dessert?

My mom has come up with an excellent solution (she is such a smart woman!)

She shops thrift stores! (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you!)

Thrift Stores always have an ever changing selection of one-of-a-kind serving plates, platters, baking dishes and more. Spend a few minutes, just a couple of dollars, and you will come away with a supply of plates for your Christmas cookies, cakes and casseroles.

Carry your goodies to that holiday event and just leave that plate behind! It cost you what… 95 cents? You have relieved yourself of a little bit of holiday stress and have helped support charity as well! Encourage your hostess to do the same. She will thank you later.
A win-win all around!

Consider shopping Impact Thrift Stores for more than just a serving platter! Take a look at these wonderful tablescapes that we created completely with thrift store finds! Mix and match a variety of glassware, plates and decorations for an eclectic and festive tablescape.








And if you are interested in trying Grandma’s Apple Cake, here is the recipe…


Mix together and set aside:
3 large granny smith or winesap apples, peeled and cut in small pieces
½ cup of sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

Mix together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 cups sugar
½ tsp salt
3 cups flour 3 tsp baking powder

Add to the dry ingredients:
1 cup oil
4 eggs, 1 at a time
7 tablespoons of orange juice
2 1/2 tsp vanilla

Batter will be thick!

Grease and flour a round tube pan.  Alternate and layer batter and apple mixture starting with batter. Place the last of the apple mixture on top.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until toothpick tester is clean.

Allow to cool completely to room temperature before removing from pan. Enjoy!

PS… do you know what makes this a “Jewish” Apple Cake? Oil is used as the shortening rather than butter or margarine, therefore the cake is parve – a neutral food that can be eaten with both meat and dairy dishes in a kosher household.

Tablescape photos by Abby Friedman and Heather Hamilton. Apple Cake baked by Dayna Tarabar.

Christopher Dock Rocks Their Community Service Day


Students from Christopher Dock paint a stair rail outside of the Montgomeryville Impact Thrift StoreOn October 5th,Charlene Rauch, an English teacher at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School, and seven students spent the day volunteering at the Montgomeryville Impact Thrift Store as part of their school’s Service Day. Spending the day at Impact Thrift provided the students the opportunity to act as vital members of the community, to share their resources, while creating a very meaningful social exchange between the students and staff members.

A student from Christopher Dock prices Bric-a-Brac at Impact Thrift Store MontgomeryvilleThe students helped to beautify the store by painting a platform, landing and staircase. They processed and priced donations within the Bric-A-Brac and Domestics departments. They smiled.  They joked. They shared. They had a ball.  It was hard to tell that they were doing work at all.

According to Rauch, “It’s all about giving back and being kind,” she said. “Eventually, the students are going to live in this community. They need to understand how it works.

students from Christopher Dock assist in Impact Thrift Montgomeryville domestics processing department

It was a pleasure working with the group of enthusiastic, personable students who exemplified the fact that service is an important part of Christopher Dock’s school, curriculum and culture.~Tamika Miller

Texas Roadhouse Makes Impact LIVE a Little Sweeter


It’s that time of year again, bummer.Corporate logo for Texas Roadhouse Restaurant

Kids have traded in their fun-filled frolicking summer days for cooler weather, pencils, paper and homework. And while they may not be ready to fully hit the books just yet, you can help make their transition a little sweeter.

Texas Roadhouse is partnering with Impact Thrift Stores to make sure that students have a full belly, and a “full”-filling school year. How? By catering a special reward luncheon for school leadership teams that participate in Impact Thrift’s Impact LIVE! Leadership program.

Impact LIVE!  is an in-school Leadership Program teaching students how to organize a collection drive event at their school, as if it were their very own business. Students experience a real-world approach to creating business plans, launching marketing campaigns, and planning all of the logistical aspects of their event. The program includes a field trip to Impact Thrift Stores to participate in fun recycling, repurposing projects. Students learn more about reducing-re-using-recycling waste, and making a green impact on the community; while supporting local charities and inspiring others to do the same. Click here to learn more about Impact LIVE!

Thanks to Texas Roadhouse, Impact LIVE!  leadership teams will be able to enjoy a delicious luncheon prepared from their kid’s meals of all-beef hot dogs, and mini-cheeseburgers, etc. Students will surely have a satisfying meal that’s A+-worthy.

Through the Impact Live Leadership Program your child can make a positive impact on local communities and savor a meal that’s “best in class”. For info on how your school or youth organization can participate, contact Tamika Miller at Impact Thrift Stores!

Donate = Recycle = Community


ceramic vase donation at Hatboro Impact Thrift Stores Silent AuctionIt sits there.

It‘s perfectly good but you haven’t used it in years.

It gathers dust.

You have 5 ideas for the space It occupies but what to do with IT?… Throw it out? No! You just don’t need – or want –  It anymore.

It doesn’t want to go in the trash! It doesn’t want to go to a landfill! It knows it can be of use to someone…

And then a thought occurs to you… maybe your neighbor has an IT (or 5!) Maybe if we put our ITs together and gather more neighbors and their ITs we can have a ….. drum roll please…

Community Donation Drive!

So much emphasis is now placed on recycling as our natural resources dwindle and the prices of every day items go up.  As you look around your home, do you have things that are just sitting there unused? Perhaps someone else would be delighted to put that item to good use, giving it new life, morphing it into someone else’s treasure.

Yellow Bus Donation Drive organized by Jamie Broderick of Network NowCommunity Donation Drives are an easy way to get people involved and raise money for locally based charities at the same time. These are fun family, neighborhood and community events, and often involve more than just dropping off a merchandise donation. One supporter hosted a winter donation drive in her neighborhood and invited all of her neighbors over to enjoy hot chocolate and fellowship after dropping off their donations. Another hosted a donation drive on the first day of school to celebrate her favorite day of the year with other moms! Use this opportunity to piggy-back another event, such as a Girl Scout cookie sale or a Boy Scout popcorn drive. Others have gotten local businesses to participate by donating free donuts or coupons to all those who come and bring a donation. The possibilities are endless!

And you won’t believe how easy we make it for you!

We have Community Donation Drives scheduled through the fall… Stop by one (with a donation of course) and talk to us about your ideas:

Saturday, October 20, 2012 from 9 am to Noon – Calvery United Methodist Church, Ambler, PA

Sunday, November 11, 2012 from 9 am to Noon – Shir Ami – Bucks County Jewish Congregation, 101 Richboro Rd, Newtown, PA

Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 9 am to Noon – St. Catherine Sienna, 321 Witmer Rd, Horsham, PA

Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 9:30 am to Noon – PennyPack Elementary School Impact Live Event, 130 Spring Ave., Hatboro, PA

If you can’t make it to one of these drives, read more about how Community Collection Drives work on our website or contact Tamika Miller, Impact Thrift Stores Community Outreach Coordinator by e-mail. She loves hearing your out-of-the-box ideas and helping you turn them into reality!


Customers Pay it Forward


Sarah Villamayor of IBXSarah Villamayor is an employee of Independence Blue Cross by day. By night (and weekends) Sarah is an avid Impact Thrift shopper, but more importantly she is a Blue Crew Volunteer….and she has found a way to merge all three into one philanthropic passion.

For the past 4 years, Sarah has volunteered as a part of Independence Blue Cross’s Blue Crew; and one of their many activities is offering academic and social support to schools through programs such as Philadelphia Reads Power Partners. As a Philadelphia Reads volunteer Sarah has the opportunity to work one-on-one with elementary students (at a school where 98 percent of the students live below the poverty level) to enhance their reading skills and empower children to gain confidence and achieve their full potential.

quote about reading to childrenHere’s where Impact Thrift Stores comes in. When the students come to Blue Cross to read with Sarah, they bring books from their own library. The books have been, let’s say, “well loved” and they are quite worn. Because of the tattered condition of the student’s books, Sarah and her husband were shopping at Impact Thrift one evening, to purchase books to read with the students with their own money. One of the cashiers suggested that Sarah reach out to Impact Thrift’s Community Outreach Coordinator and this led to a vital community partnership. 219 donated books later, Impact Thrift has joined the efforts of Sarah and Independence Blue Cross to provide books to those students, and has also donated books to a children’s home in Warminster.

Sarah shared just how much these books will mean to the children, “These books will help to instill the joy of reading into more children! The children will be very excited about the books and very eager to open and read them. Books are something small that can lead to something very big! These books will motivate the children to read more, thus improving their reading skills and self-esteem, and once they succeed in reading they will be motivated to excel in other subjects and in their personal life.”

You may not be able to tutor children in your spare time, but you can help pay it forward by donating gently-used items to any one of the four Impact Thrift locations. The net proceeds from the sale of those items will financially support locally-based charities in our own communities. And who knows, if you donate books, they may end up in the hands of one of Sarah’s deserving students.

~Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator of Impact Thrift Stores

Through The Eyes Of An Intern


Ahmai Cole complete an internship for college credit at Impact Thrift StoresSummertime is almost over. College students are returning to school… some of them having just completed an internship in their fields of interest.

One such student (and equestrian), a sophomore from Bryn Athyn College, named Ahmai Cole walked into my office with her mother, a bit shy, but full of enthusiasm to learn more of our mission. After taking a tour and seeing firsthand our behind-the-scene operations, Ahmai’s creative pulse was raised. As a matter of fact, I received an email from her mother that very night, “Ahmai left quite inspired by our visit and excited at the thought of doing an internship with Impact Thrift.  She left wanting to major in business so that she can run a thrift store for horse equipment.” I thought, “WOW”, this internship is off to a great start!

Hear, in Ahmai’s own voice, a glimpse of what it’s like to be an intern at Impact Thrift Stores:

My first week started with an orientation. I then had the opportunity to work in the Bric-A-Brac department. My experience was that it was like Christmas, you open boxes that have unknown content, some of which is interesting and unique. The whole department was friendly and helpful. This made my first two days at Impact very memorable, and fun.

Weeks two and three was spent in the marketing department. The first thing I got to do was have a meeting with Paul Baur, the CEO and Gray Wirth the Vice President. It was interesting hearing them talk about what brought them to Impact. I researched the 16 charities that Impact financially supports in order to do a volunteer day. I picked three, Manna on Main, Bethanna, and Cradles of Hope. I also performed a wide variety of administrative tasks. (Creating databases, assisting with a wide variety of marketing campaigns, performing research, and compiling data for a donor database and community outreach programs)

Week four involved working at Manna on Main Street one of the charities that Impact financially supports. Manna is a soup kitchen, pantry and offers emergency aid. I got to see how a soup kitchen works and participate in the serving. I then helped organize packets for a walk they are hosting, along with working in the pantry, for an hour. I was impressed with the facilities, and hope to visit again sometime soon.

What is coming up? I am working on a project for their Impact LIVE program; which is a community service program that Impact Thrift provides to local school districts. The students actually get to learn how to organize a collection drive to support families in need. I am excited for all that is to come!

Click here for more info about Internship possibilities, Impact LIVE  or how you can get involved with Impact Thrift Stores and our supported charities.

~Tamika Miller

Back to School… Impact Thrift Style!


Wait a minute… didn’t Summer just get started?

back to school image apple and composition bookIt may feel that way, but September is here, which means that Back to School shopping has begun!


The Fall 2012 color forecast is an unexpected mix of darks, brights, and neutrals. Think dark chocolate brown with a splash of pumpkin orange… titanium gray and honey gold…deep olive green with a punch of red… and THE color of the season, a rich and cozy shade of burgundy. Red plaids and tartans are classics, and bohemian prints in rich Autumn hues will be popular, as well as graphic black and white prints. Take a look at the Pantone Fall Fashion Color Report for 2012. These are the colors that you will see in stores.


Skinny jeans are here to stay, but many designers have adjusted their silhouettes for a better fit and greater comfort. Lots of layers featuring texture are a good way to transition from cool Fall mornings that turn into warm afternoons. The classic navy peacoat makes a comeback, and riding boots will be a perfect versatile and comfortable accessory for your Fall wardrobe.


Other key terms to keep in mind while Fall clothes shopping are faux fur accents (emphasis on faux), sweater dresses and wedge-heeled shoes. Sheath dresses and beautiful velvet and brocade fabrics are all here to stay. Glossy leather handbags in burgundy or maroon are trendy yet wearable. Anything embellished with mixed metals keeps the trend of a statement necklace going strong.

Take a look at our Back to School and Fall Thrift Fashion Show…


2… 4… 6… 8… Who Do We Appreciate?!


Do you remember that teacher?

The one who showed you just how much fun reading or math could be?

The one that held you accountable?

The one who put you on a life-path that has shaped who you are today?

Frank Hartwell speaks to a class of Hatboro Horsham students during an Impact Live program

Few professionals touch as many people as teachers do or put so much of themselves and their own resources into their job.

At Impact Thrift Stores, we consider ourselves a “Community Partner” with the schools that neighbor our stores. We work with those schools in a variety of ways in an effort to provide resources and programs that might benefit the schools, students and teachers.

Some of you may recognize Frank Hartwell in the photo, Impact Thrift’s Education Director, and a retired teacher from Lower Merion High School.  “What most people don’t know is that Impact Thrift has always had a commitment to local schools. Many people who shop at our stores are unaware that Impact Thrift has an Education Program; which offers college/high school internships, community service, senior project opportunities for high school students, and the Impact LIVE Leadership Program,” commented Frank.

Teachers are unique and special. During the month of September, Teacher and School Staff Appreciation Month, Impact Thrift Stores would like to acknowledge the crucial role teachers play in making sure every child receives a quality education.

We would like to publicly thank current Teachers and School Staff for their unwavering passion, dedication and commitment to educating our future. In recognition of your hard work and the financial hardships you often endure, Impact Thrift is giving all teachers and school support staff a 25% discount on purchases at all of our 4 stores during the month of September. Simply present your current school ID at checkout to receive your discount.*


At checkout, you will be asked to register your school to win one of two grand prizes: a jaw dropping teacher’s lounge makeover or Impact Thrift will “play Santa” and deliver a truck load of toys to your school. The school with the most registrations wins! How much fun is that!?

To learn more about bringing the Impact LIVE program to your school, contact Tamika Miller at Impact Thrift Stores 215.699.4146, x 101

*Maximum discount $25. Not valid with other offers. Offer expires 9-29-12. 
Winning school will be notified during the week of 10-1-12.

Experience the Heart & Soul of Impact Thrift


This group of college students from Gwynedd Mercy College volunteered at Impact Thrift Montgomeryville store on August 20, 2012Volunteer groups who spend the day at Impact Thrift Stores, have the unique opportunity to  learn the heart of our organization and develop a genuine community partnership. Volunteer experiences are  inspiring and can be transformational for both the staff members of Impact Thrift and the volunteers who serve…as was certainly the case the morning of August 20th, when Impact Thrift was joined by a group of college students from Gwynedd Mercy College.

The students from Gwynedd Mercy arrived promptly at 9 am, bright-eyed, enthusiastic , personable and ready to go! After receiving a volunteer orientation and tour of the Montgomeryville store from Jo Greenawalt, Director of Business Development, the group of 8  were in for a real treat.  They had the pleasure of sitting with Impact Thrift’s staff during their morning meeting, and hearing a heartfelt presentation from the directors of one of Impact Thrift’s supported charities, Chariots for Hope (a locally-based, non-profit organization located in Dresher Pa.)

The directors of Chariots for Hope held the staff and volunteer’s attention captive as they shared stories of  how they are changing the lives of hundreds of vulnerable, abandoned and orphaned children in Kenya, East Africa. Chariots shared first hand stories of the life changing work that they perform on a day-to-day basis; but furthermore, they impressed upon the staff and volunteers Impact Thrift’s instrumental role in going above and beyond to financially support their cause of  providing healthy living environments,  educational,  medical and emotional care to those children, through their network of Children’s Homes.

After hearing the presentation, Jen Fransen, Gwynedd Mercy’s Volunteer Coordinator, turned to me and said, “I’m glad that our group had the chance to sit in an hear from the Charity. It helps to put what we are doing here today into full perspective.” Looking at Jen, at that moment, I felt as thought I saw more than the smile in her eyes…I saw her heart open. In that moment, what Jen didn’t realize is that my heart was open as well. I felt very fortunate to host the team of loyal volunteers from Gwynedd Mercy who decided to spend their valuable time and energy to help us support a variety of charities, such as Chariots for Hope, that support families and children in crisis. The shared experience inspired us both, and  filled  us with a sense of  joy as our two organizations united as compassionate community partners.

Impact Thrift truly values each and every volunteer group that serves with us, and walks alongside us as we work hard every day to makes sure that we are doing the best we can to support families and children in crisis, not only in our neighboring communities, but abroad. A special thanks goes out to Jen Fransen, Julianna Feltwell, Migdalia Salles, Rachel Moots, Chris Pembroke, Chris Selke, John Davis, and Michael Czerwonka of Gwynedd Mercy College. An extended thanks goes out to Caleb Eckhardt, and the staff of Chariots for Hope for sharing their journey, as they defend the forgotten children in Africa.

If you want to make a difference in the lives of those who are most in need in your local communities, contact Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator, to arrange a day of service for your school, church, corporation or organization.