Editor’s note: We sent two reporters to find out more about the volunteers that make up one of the Key Peninsula’s perhaps best-loved charitable organizations. See Part 2 of the story here.
Angels Toni Jacobson and Marianne McColley report for duty at the Angel Guild in Key Center by 9:30 a.m. on Thursdays. They turn on lights, check that everything is where it should be and open the door at 10 a.m.
More Angels, who are sorters, arrive to work in the building out back, where donations are collected. Jacobson works as a sorter on Wednesdays, and so wears two Angel hats. She’s been a volunteer for about 17 years, and started when the store was located in a smaller space next door.
McColley, who also started in the smaller store, came about 12 years ago, and has always been a clerk. They’ve worked as a team for much of that time. Jacobson said about being an Angel, “It isn’t really work. It’s fun.”
Floaters are volunteers who fetch and carry items between buildings and cross the street to the credit union for small cash or change when needed. Thursday morning doesn’t have an assigned floater, but Sheree Bankson comes early for her afternoon shift when she can.
Asked why she enjoys her work there, McColley said, “The people we work with and the customers who come in.”
New items are brought in every day. Some customers drop by almost every day and often find something to buy each visit.
Customers are greeted, helped where needed, and the “regulars,” Jacobson said, are sometimes gently chided if they leave without a purchase. All those who come in are sent off with a smile, a cheery comment or, “Come back again!”
No two days are quite the same. “Thursday is not one of the busier days,” McColley said. “Tuesday and Wednesday, more people come in, perhaps to check the new stock.”
“Saturday is when working people come in,” Jacobson said, “so it’s a different group.”
On-duty Angels often purchase items on their working days, before or after their shifts, but they may browse to see what’s new and interesting if there are no customers needing attention. There is friendly camaraderie between Angel members, whether working or shopping. “Imagine 50-plus women with different personalities all working well together,” Jacobson said.
Carla Parkhurst, store manager and the only paid Angel, checks through the inventory and decides when prices need changing or when a new color tag (for reduced prices) is timely.
Pearlita McColley and Linda Morin arrive and for a few minutes, there are more people behind the counter than in front of it. McColley, with her sister-in-law Marianne McColley, complete a transaction with a customer, comments and messages are exchanged, and the shift change is in place.
Marianne McColley commented on their interesting monthly business meetings when requests are reviewed and the proceeds from sales are allocated. “Someone presents a proposal that Key Peninsula Middle School needs $1,200 for something. We vote, there are more proposals, and in 15 minutes, we’ve spent $15,000!”
From April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, Angel Guild granted $100,148 to 34 organizations, in amounts from $500 to $8,000.
The Angel Guild Thrift Shop is in KC Corral in Key Center, open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., donations accepted Mon-Sat, 9:30 to 3:30. Call 253-884-9333 or email email@example.com
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS