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Utility costs force thrift shop to hike clothing prices

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MADRID - New Beginnings food pantry and thrift store in Madrid is raising the price of its used clothing for the first time in its 24-year history because of utility costs.

Beginning Feb. 2, a medium-sized bag of clothing will rise in cost from $1 to $2. A large bag that now costs $1 will increase to $4.

Donna M. Moore, vice chairwoman of the nonprofit organization’s board, said Friday that increases in heating and electrical costs for New Beginnings’ building on County Route 14 are forcing the hike in what it charges for used clothing.

“It’s to make ends meet,” she said. “It’s pretty hard.”

Mrs. Moore said the higher prices may eventually be rolled back.

“We’re hoping that it won’t be an inconvenience,” she said.

Between 10 and 15 people patronize the volunteer-staffed thrift store, which is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Meanwhile, according to Mrs. Moore, New Beginnings has raised over $80,000 toward the $120,000 cost to build a new multi-use facility to replace the old barn that houses the charity now.

Fund raising, however, has been slow and the campaign is running behind.

“We were hoping to be in there last fall,” Mrs. Moore said.

Nevertheless, she said, fundraisers continue to be organized and grants continue to be pursued.

“We still got a few irons in the fire,” Mrs. Moore said.

The new building will be handicapped-accessible and will include a fitting room, a sorting room, a restroom, and an enlarged food pantry and clothing area. There will also be an area to display information for assistance and educational pamphlets, a comfortable sitting area for those reading literature or waiting, as well as space to offer a listening ear or a prayer.

The larger building will also make it possible for New Beginnings to host speakers on topics of interest, to have a ready supply of items for local residents who experience a disaster such as a house fire and to offer a central place for the collection of clothing and household items for areas that have been struck by natural disasters.

There are also plans for a community garden.

New Beginnings is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ease the burden of poverty by providing gently used clothing, household items and food to those in need.

New Beginnings began in 1989 when members of St. John’s Catholic Church, Scotch Presbyterian Church and the United Church of Madrid joined forces to bring relief to those in financial need.

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