From Donations… to Furry Friends… Pennypack Pays it Forward


If you are wondering if your younger children are old enough to participate in community service projects, all you have to do is take one look at a group of fourth graders from Pennypack Elementary, and there’s your answer…

4th Graders from Pennypack Elementary School in Hatboro-Horsham PAYES!

These enthusiastic ten year olds are participating in the Impact LIVE Leadership Program, and are positively changing the Hatboro-Horsham community one donation at a time…but more than that, they are going above and beyond, in a very creative green way, to help a local pet store find dogs a loving home.

The primary focus of the Impact LIVE program is to inspire students of all ages to think beyond themselves and consider how they can organize, promote and host a collection drive event at their school to help families and children in crisis. As part of the program, the Pennypack students had the opportunity to take a field trip to the Hatboro store, for a behind-the-scenes tour, and an orientation; which taught the eager minds how donating diverts items from landfills, and is actually another form of recycling.

Pennypack students in front of Hatboro Impact Thrift Store

The students were excited to learn the various ways their generous donations will be “recycled” into cash to support the 16 locally-based charities Impact Thrift financially supports.

Just when it seemed like the morning with the students couldn’t get any better, the fun was kicked into overdrive. The students participated in an upcycling project where they learned how to make super cool dog tug toys from donated fleece blankets, sweatshirts and t-shirts.

By braiding strips of fabric cut from the donated items, the children were able to transform what was once a used good, and put it to good use! Not only did the students have a chance to learn a new craft, they raved about wanting to make more dog tug toys for their own pets, or for Christmas gifts for the pets of family members and neighbors.

A local pet store in Feasterville immediately fell in love at first sight when they saw the personalized upcycled dog toys that the students made, and decided to use the toys as give-aways to anyone who takes a dog home during an adoption event in partnership with an animal rescue organization.

From donations… to adoptions… Pennypack Elementary School pays it forward to benefit both the Hatboro and Feasterville communities at large.

We all could take a lesson from the students at Pennypack Elementary. If you’ve got a puppy who loves to play tug-of-war, take your fleece scraps and make him an easy-peasy rope toy…

Here’s how!

Gather some fleece from old sweat pants, sweatshirts or blankets. Cut the fleece into three 3-inch by 40-inch strips. Cut right across shoulder and side seams – they add texture to the toy! For a large dog, you might want to double up and cut 6 strips.  That’s it!

Mix and match your different colored strips to make a colorful toy.

Holding all three (or six) strips together, tie them in a knot at one end. Begin to braid the long strips of fleece. If using six strands, hold the strands together in sets of two while you are braiding.

Make a basic braid by pulling the left-most strand over the center strand and tug tight. Next, pull the right-most strand over the now center strand  and tug tight. Continue braiding in this manner, braiding the fleece as tightly as possible for a sturdy toy. An easy way to get a really tight braid is to put the knot between your knees and keep braiding. Braid until the toy is slightly longer than your desired length and tie the other end in a knot.

finished braided dog toy upcycle from old sweatshirts and tshirtsTrim the ends of the fleece and your toy is finished! If you’d like to give your pal another place to grab on to the braids, just tie a few knots in the finished braid.

Daisy plays with her new tug toyHave fun playing with your furry friend! And remember, the toy is washable, so when it gets slobbery and gross, you can just revive it with a good washing and drying.

Click here for a printable version of this project! (It is the first on the list of pdfs on Impact Thrift Stores “For the Home” page.)


~ post by Tamika Miller

Deliverance Evangelistic Temple… Committed to Serving the Community


Nestled in the Heart of Norristown, is a Church Committed to Serving the Community.Deliverance Temple, under the servant leadership of Bishop Sandra Coston

It wasn’t long after I stepped inside the welcoming doors of Deliverance Evangelistic Temple, that I realized the churches’ strong sense of responsibility to reach out to the world outside their walls. Deliverance Temple, under the servant leadership of Bishop Sandra Coston, provides meals to neighboring families, as well as tutoring, literacy programs, computer classes and a wide variety of outreach programs to hospitals, nursing homes and prisons; all intended to meet the social, economic, educational and basic human needs of the residents of the greater Norristown community. Therefore, the partnership between Impact Thrift Stores and Deliverance Temple was natural and effortless; as we came together seamlessly to host a collection drive to benefit families and children in crisis.

During the month of October, the parishioners of Deliverance Temple collected clothing and shoes in support of Impact Thrift’s mission to positively impact local communities through its thrift store operations. Even during the midst, and aftermath, of torrential Hurricane Sandy, Deliverance was able to look beyond their own personal needs to forge ahead, and as a result of their dedication they gathered a multitude of donations.

Deliverance Temple does not ask, if they should serve…they ask where they should serve, who they should serve, and how many ways they can serve others? Impact Thrift is thankful for their dedicated service to helping others in their community, and for spreading that love and concern to our supported charities.

~Tamika Miller

Community Donation Drive Shout Outs…


At Impact Thrift, we love what we do! And we love to share stories about being connected with the community. It is only through grassroots community interaction, that we are able to fulfill our mission to financially support local charities.

Here’s a special Thank-You, “SHOUT OUT” to all those who recently joined in to help spread awareness that donating has the power to positively impact lives:

Calvary United Methodist Church Ambler PAEileen Wenckus of Ambler, PA, held her 2nd annual collection drive event at her church, Calvary United Methodist.  Eileen, who is a volunteer at her church and local food pantry, is all about giving back! Eileen went the extra mile and got local businesses involved. She encouraged local businesses to give special discounts to anyone who supported her event. What a great idea! Special Thanks to all the shops in Ambler for supporting Eileen’s “Ambler Donate and Save Day”: Antique Garden Cottage, Ambler Bake Shop, Ambler Golf Shop, Jackets ’n Things, Holistic Apothecary, and No Bare Walls.

Laird Donation Drive fills our truck in Chalfont PaBarb Laird of Chalfont Pa inspired her whole neighborhood to clean out closets and de-clutter to support her community collection drive event.  Her husband and son were gracious enough to provide hot coffee and Yum Yum donuts to anyone who dropped off a donation. Barb was a little nervous about having a good turn-out…but her nervousness was in vain…she and her family nearly filled our truck, and that’s no easy feat! We had tons of fun trying out some of that work out equipment that her neighbors donated; like that ab rocket twister and manually operated treadmill…who knew a collection drive could beat going to the gym?

Frani Morrione and Anthony Stipa of Keller Williams Real Estate Blue Bell Frani Morrione and Anthony Stipa of Keller Williams Real Estate Blue Bell Frani Morrione and Anthony Stipa of Keller Williams Real Estate Blue Bell joined forces with Impact Thrift to show Plymouth Meeting that they care about families and children in need.  Their collection drive event had all the neighbors talking…in a good way! Their neighbors were very appreciative to have an outlet to donate their unwanted items, where their family treasures would be truly valued and given a new home. It was great to see neighbors gathering around and reminiscing about all the fun times that had together over the years on Loretta Lane; while playfully teasing Bob (the neighbor across the way) as he trimmed his tree to ultimate perfection.

To all those who supported their events, Impact Thrift says, “Thank you for Being Green and Helping Others!”

To host a collection drive event of your own… visit our website to learn more or contact Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator at 267.387.0030, x5111.

You inspire us!


A view of Feasterville Impact Thrift Store from the front of the furniture departmentEnter one of our stores and take a moment to look around.

Think about it.

Everything you see is a donation.

Amazing… Awe inspiring…


Someone drives up to our back door, empties their car with the help of our staff, smiles and offers a kind word.  About half of you accept a non-profit donation receipt for your income taxes.

A wonderful neighbor dropping a donation off at Impact Thrift Stores Montgomeryville

And then you drive off.

Your donations range from a small bag of clothing or box of books to the contents of an entire house on the Main Line and, quite literally, everything in between… including the kitchen sink!

We don’t know anything about you…


We do know that what you do makes a difference. Period.

Your donation makes a difference in our community, allowing us to provide gently-used or sometimes new merchandise at reasonable prices to people who often can not afford to shop in a retail department store or mall AND provide over 200 jobs to your neighbors, friends and family.

Your donation makes a difference in our world, our environment. You are “recycling” items that you no longer need or use. You are offering those items a new lease on life and offer service to a new owner. You are helping to keep items out of land fills and taking active steps to heal our planet.

Your donation makes a difference in the lives of those helped by the charities we financially support. You are helping to feed a family, educate a child, shelter the weary, insure good health and find a child a forever home, right here in the Philadelphia area.

The truly awe-inspiring part is the anonymity of it all. We don’t know your name. We don’t know your family. We don’t know your motivation. We don’t know your circumstances.

But we thank you.



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