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“They have me in the kids’ department because I, well, have kids,” Garton said.

Whatever doesn’t get sold doesn’t go to waste, though. Every item that doesn’t make the store shelves or doesn’t sell once it gets there is donated to the Orphan Grain Train, an international orphan aid organization. The Orphan Grain Train uses the items in various ways, either repurposing them, selling them to fund its work, or selling old clothing by the pound as scrap fabric to be made into blankets in the Third World.

Garton, 33, is currently the youngest volunteer of the Children's Guild. The majority of members are retired and older women. Garton says the median age is probably 65, with the oldest volunteers in their 90s.

“These ladies are amazing,” Garton said. “They’re always in here volunteering their time, even when they don’t have to.”

The volunteer work helps keep the members active, and the store’s popularity keeps them well acquainted with people around town.

“The best part is meeting people,” said Children's Guild volunteer Vivian Schuster.

To be a member of the Children's Guild, one must be nominated by a current member. The organization wants to make sure it can trust its volunteers around the cash and merchandise of the Bargain Box. This should not discourage anyone interested in volunteering, however. The organization is especially interested in hiring more young volunteers.

“It’s hard to get younger volunteers,” Garton said. “We do have a requirement of 50 hours a year of work from all members, but you can easily do 50 hours in a whole year.”

Garton encourages anyone who might be interested to contact someone in the Children's Guild, or check out the Bargain Box’s Facebook page for more information (search: BargainBoxThriftStore).

“Anyone interested can talk to anyone who’s in the Children's Guild,” Garton said. “These ladies know everyone; they’ll probably know you.”


Information from: Beatrice Sun,