Issue No.3
Online Thrift Shopper Magazine
Oct. 2006
Thrifter of the Month

Charity Spotlight




How Did I Become a Thrifter?
by Kristine Ingersoll

A Helping Paw


Beware of the Dressing Room

Spaghetti with Eggplant and Chili Pepper

Calling All Thrifters!

The Family That Plays Together Thrifts Together
by Josephine Klemaier a.k.a. Josie Rosy Posie

Jason Trachtenburg sits outside Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, Colorado, wearing a thin Polyphonic Spree T-shirt, women's sweatpants, tennis shoes, and thick, black plastic glasses that look like the ones your grandma may have worn well into the 70s. "Our goal is to explain through reality and circumstances the thrift store chic phenomenon," he says. Jason, his wife Tina, and their 12-year-old daughter Rachel make up the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, a unique musical act from New York. With Jason on the keyboard, Rachel on the drums, and Tina working the slide projector, the Trachtenburgs set to music classic images of vacations, parties, and corporate slide presentations from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. The Trachtenburgs have befriended stellar artists along the way like singers Regina Spektor and Nellie McKay and comedian David Cross.

The now-essential slide show part of their act began in Seattle when Tina and Rachel were walking dogs for their business, The Dog Squad. They found a vintage 50's slide projector at an estate sale along with a box of slides documenting a family's 1959 trip to Japan. Jason wrote a song titled "Mountain Trip to Japan, 1959," Rachel picked up the harmonica at age 6, and the Slideshow Players were born. Jason sorts through thousands of slides to find a common theme and then writes a song based on the images he selects. The music is funny, quirky, and G-rated and is complimented by the unique clothing the Trachtenburgs find at estate sales and thrift stores.

Tina is the family stylist and alters all of their clothing, sometimes for the fit and other times for a repair or two. Their favorite places to shop are the Value Village and Goodwill thrift stores across the country. "I love pillow cases," Tina says, and she looks for them when shopping along with sheets and curtains she uses to make other things. "It's fun and it gives you a chance to be creative," says Tina. Rachel keeps an eye out for sweaters, shoes, and skirts when thrifting. Her favorite place to shop is Seattle, which is where the family lived before moving to New York. "It's a way to express myself through my clothing," says Rachel

But shopping at thrift stores goes further than style for the Trachtenburgs. Jason Trachtenburg sees it on more of a practical front than a novel one. "It's about using what you've already got," says Jason, who believes that they just don't make things like they used to. "You can buy higher quality goods at a fraction of the price," he says. Jason described the "hierarchy" of buying things second hand. He sees garage sales on the lowest rung of the ladder because they usually just have junk. "It's stuff that they would have just thrown out or given away, but they think they can make some money off of it," he says.

However, when I mentioned estate sales, like the one they found their first slide projector at, Jason's eyes lit up and it was like I had just said "Louis Vuitton bag" to a Valley girl. "Yes!" he exclaimed. "Because why do they have estate sales? It's because someone died." He went on to explain that it is not until someone's relative passes on and they decide to make some money off of their stuff that the long-lasting goods from the "golden age of humanity" are released to those who can really appreciate them. "Stuff from the 1920s up until the 1970s is more aesthetically pleasing," is Jason's opinion. Tennis shoes, he says, are really the only things that have improved since then, and he usually buys his new.

Estate sales are also one of the family's favorite places to shop for quality items because Jason feels thrift that stores are sometimes picked over since there's been a sharp rise in people shopping for vintage items. He said they rarely shop at vintage stores for any of their beloved treasures because, "You pay twenty dollars for something, and that takes the fun out of it."

For the whole story behind the family that is a band, visit SlideShowPlayers.Com, or check out their new DVD, "The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, On and Off Broadway," which includes live performances, music videos, and interviews with the Trachtenburgs.


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A Mother's Story
By: Deborah Akel

Sometime around 1991, my mother asked me to write this story. I was working as a writer for the president of an international marketing firm in Canton, Ohio. Mom was proud of me. Especially the day my car wouldn't start, and my boss sent his personal chauffeur in a limousine to our house to pick me up and take me to work. She thought I'd made the big time.

It was decided that I should write a story for her. All she had was a title: "Jesus in the Thrift Shop." She was relying on her daughter, the big-time writer, to come up with the rest.

"Isn't that a neat title for a book?" she announced excitedly.

"But what's it about?" I asked. I had no idea where to begin. "It's about Jesus in the thrift shop," she replied, as if that should explain everything.

Mom liked to shop in thrift stores. She was always proud when she came home with a bargain. Even back in the day when it was embarrassing to be seen in a thrift store. Now it's called "vintage" shopping. Mom was ahead of her time. She thrifted when it wasn't trendy.

Mom believed that whenever she found an item she was seeking in a thrift store, Jesus was somehow behind it. "I was looking for a grey A-line skirt, and there it was!" she would say with childlike amazement and delight. "I'd been praying that I'd find a skirt just like it." After several such finds, all of them attributed to prayer, she suggested that I write a book about the presence of Christ at Value Village.

Always the cynic, I dismissed the idea. "Don't be ridiculous, Mom," I chided. "God has more important things to worry about than your shopping list." But no matter how many times I tried to burst her bubble, she never capitulated. She was convinced that Jesus had a hand in her thrifting triumphs.

A Silly Idea

Jesus in the Thrift Shop. What a silly idea, I thought. Mom was forever trying to inject God and Jesus into every little happening in the course of a day. If she baked a loaf of bread and it came out perfect, it was God's doing. If she found a dollar bill lying on the sidewalk, it was Jesus who had left it there for her. Nothing was too trivial to have been the result of divine intervention. And now she was trying to convince me that the Lord had hung that white blouse on the sale rack for her at the Next-to-New shop. I wasn't buying it.

In my infinite wisdom of youth, I often viewed my mom as a sort of simpleton. Gullible, unsophisticated, fanatical. While I'm politically liberal and open-minded about philosophy and religion, Mom was as conservative as they come and rigid in her beliefs. We had many clashes over our disparate views. Once I subscribed by mail to a Zen journal, and discovered that she was secretly throwing it away before I had a chance to read it. Tampering with the U.S. mail may have been a felony, but Mom thought it was a greater crime to allow me to travel down what she thought was the wrong path.

Over the course of several years, my mother repeatedly asked me to write her book. But I never took her idea seriously. I thought it was foolish, and that there wasn't enough material to make a good story. Besides, I was busy with my own life and didn't have time to indulge her.

I Finally Understand

Mom went to heaven on October 30, 2002. It's taken me nearly 15 years, but I think I finally understand the story she was trying to tell. In the three years since she's been gone, I've had time to reflect on who my mother was and what she stood for. I've been able to remove myself from the equation and look at her not in relation to me, but as an individual. And I'm continuously amazed at what I'm learning about her.

Unshakeable Faith

Above all, she was a woman of unshakeable faith. Many of her beliefs were unpopular, and she was often criticized for being inflexible, unrealistic, or out of touch with society. She may have been all of those things, but I've come to respect her for standing up for her convictions.

Her strict interpretation of the Bible meant that her lifestyle left no room for pleasures that most of us take for granted. She never knew the feeling of giddiness from being drunk; the thrill of sex with a new partner; the excitement of casino gambling.

But she also never suffered the anxiety of wondering what life is about. She knew exactly who she was and where she was going. And she wasn't afraid of going there.

As it turns out, my mother was not a simpleton. She was smarter and braver and more together than anyone gave her credit for. She loved the Lord and saw his handiwork in everything - even in her successes at the thrift stores. That wasn't foolishness. That was faith.

The story that she so wanted me to tell was that God is everywhere, in everything, and we should acknowledge and be grateful for it. He's in that perfect loaf of bread, or that dollar lying on the sidewalk, or the ray of sunlight that shines through your window. He's in the biggest and the smallest of things. He's with us and in us and around us, and if we believe in Him, we'll find him.

Yes, Jesus was in those thrift shops with my mom, just as he is with her now, walking down streets paved with gold in heaven.

"Jesus in the Thrift Shop" was first published at  You can Email the author at

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by Marion Cohen a.k.a. Mathwoman

Besides museums, cool ethnic restaurants, and long unguided walking tours, what does a couple do on their second honeymoon in Montreal? Why, thrift of course. We had already researched online and found that there WAS indeed thrifting in Montreal.  But we had forgotten to bring the info with us, and we were having trouble finding a working wifi for my husband Jon's laptop so we could look the stuff up again. So we used the old-fashioned phone book method. There weren't any phone books in our room, but we found one in the main Metro station. We looked under "Second hand", "Clothing bought and sold", and finally just-plain "thrift". Our general plan was to spend one or two days with the above-mentioned museums, restaurants, and walking tours, and then get down to business with either a Salvation Army or a Value Village.  Then we'd put in another one or two days in museums before taking on one more thrift store.

Our phone book search yielded only two Salvation Army Thrift Stores and as many Value Villages on streets completely unfamiliar sounding.  Even with a map and Jon's expertise with maps, it seemed impossible to tell which ones were relatively close to our hotel or how to get to the farther ones by Metro or bus. So in the lobby of our hotel we asked the guy at the desk about thrift stores.  I've done this before at far fancier hotels, and the concierges never bat an eyelash. In fact, many have had a few private favorites themselves. This guy competently punched a few keys and came up with the closest Salvation Army and the closest Value Village, neither of which had been in the phone book.

The Value Village was only several Metro stops away with one changeover.  It also involved a few blocks' walk in the hot sun and a little direction asking, which is my specialty. Anyone who says that men are better at maps and women at asking directions is correct. When we saw on our right the huge signs reading not Value Village but Villages des Valeur (pronounced in French, of course), I ran on over, held up both arms, and shouted out in English, "WE'RE HERE!  YAY!" as you can see in the photo below.  People smiled at us, in French probably.

Then I lost no time in barging inside. I've shopped in Value Villages in Washington DC, and I'm aware that they're in other locations, too. They all seem to have the same general look, which is sort of hard to describe. First, as you enter, there are Halloween costumes and other costume-y items (whatever the time of year). Then there's a row of long dresses on a rack higher than in most thrift stores (or ANY stores), and as I moved further and further away from the door and deeper and deeper inside, there were lower racks of skirts, blouses, and so on.  All the women's stuff is on the right and the men's is on the left.  Far in back, also on the left, were rows and rows and columns and columns of brightly-colored toys. On the back right are the housewares and linens.

The book section is where our hero Jon quickly settled in, his usual practice in any thrift store.  He had already run through the men's T-shirts and found three or four, which he now held on his lap as he flipped through Howard Fast's "Being Red".  I've written in the forums here on TheThriftShopper.Com about how politically cool thrift stores can be, and Montreal's shops were no exception. Later our hero found and bought another tome which he enthusiastically told me could very well be the solution to all the world's current problems.

And so, as our hero was making the first steps towards finding the solution to the world's problems, our heroine was busy finding a navy and white print skirt. Mostly navy, as required, with just the correct length and breadth and also, as required, ungathered. She also found several black Jacob tops. In Philadelphia, Jacob is a completely unknown brand, but in Canada it's kind of a big deal, so I thought I'd buy one for a souvenir. Our heroine also rejected a 60's black print voile dress -- resisting the temptation when the ones back home were so much better.  (How can a 60's black print voile dress be so un-tempting?  Answer: Too puffy.)

And in general, our heroine truly WAS a heroine.  She did not get carried away.  She picked out only seven or eight items and was then ready to try these on.  The dressing room area was unlike any I have ever seen in a thrift store.  It was a very LARGE area, and there were about five little "rooms" with curtains as doors and mirrors inside lined up against two walls in an L-shape.  A rather military sort of woman chaperoned us all, making sure nobody stepped out of turn. There were about five of us to chaperone as we waited for a free "room". This was also the area which held the shopping carts, and I made use of one to hold and sort my items, weeding out one or two.  Everyone was speaking French, but when I made conversation in English, they began speaking in English -- typical of Montreal, no language problem.

It wasn't a long wait.  And when I emerged from the dressing room, I had weeded out more of the remaining items.  Villages des Valeur in Montreal are, in my opinion, like Value Villages in Washington DC -- namely, not  as great as Philadelphia's Villages (just plain Villages, no relation).  But time has shown that all the rest of the summer (six to eight weeks), I've been wearing that navy and white print skirt more than I'd thought I would, and it's going to be a keeper, meaning I plan to wear it NEXT spring and summer.

After trying the stuff on, I moved to the left side of the store -- yep, our hero with his leftist books and our heroine on the left side of the store -- and found some more T-shirts for said hero, in particular an AIR CANADA one for the trip back home. Also, just before arriving at the checkout counter, I spotted the jewelry -- in particular, two wooden beaded necklaces.  One's got big dark brown oval beads separated by black leather string, and the other -- my REAL favorite -- is what I call my "math beads."  Three of these reddish-brown beads are shaped like... some mathematician I am, I forget the name of that polyhedron. (I know it's no cube or tetrahedron, though...)  But I had never seen beads like that before and I haven't seen them since. Oh, and also I found, for my grandchildren, Babar coloring books in French and, also in French,  an issue of Elle for my daughter (whose nickname is Elle).

We spent the next two or three days on more unguided walking tours, and did NOT come across any surprise thrift stores. Even Rue Mont Royal , which both of our guidebooks had proclaimed contained "all" the thrift and vintage stores, and which had promised untold hippie adventures, sported only one vintage store, which was far too expensive for our taste (although it did have some nice things in it, but nothing I cried over).

The non-thrifting life of Montreal was indeed great, and we found some amazing ethnic restaurants, though nothing that we wished we could take home with us. The Vietnamese restaurant that we found didn't have green papaya salad, for example. The little booklet called "Cheap Thrills" that we obtained at the Art Museum was worth the ten Canadian dollars we spent for it, and it said that the Korean restaurant they listed was the ONLY true Korean restaurant in town, which was indeed true. That cute little place was hidden among the streets of Chinatown down some steps. The chef was an older woman who told us that the place had formerly been downtown and very popular but she had wanted to downsize so had moved to this tiny cellar.

But back to thrifting. Her teenage daughter told us about a nearby Salvation Army. The next day we followed her directions, but to no avail.  Somehow it turned into a wild goose chase.  However, I had the phone numbers that the hotel guy had given us, so I dialed up one of the Salvation Army stores.

I THOUGHT I handled it well. I THOUGHT I spoke clearly when I asked "Do you speak English?" and I THOUGHT she answered yes, and then I THOUGHT she understood that it was Metro directions I needed, but her directions were unintelligible.  "I don't understand," I repeated. So she called over a coworker, who told me "I speak English." She then gave me intelligible and correct directions.  (All this time Jon's map wasn't working, but my direction asking finally did.  His maps worked great for the museums, though...)

Half and hour later we arrived at said Salvation Army -- or rather, Armee du Salut.  I no longer remember what street it was on, and it doesn't matter because it wasn't all that recommendable.  But Jon did find more books and, if I remember correctly, one or two more T-shirts. I found a cool black knit top with an interesting white design, something I've been needing more of. I also made a friend, a tall (like me) enthusiastic woman who kept exclaiming (in English) about everything she looked at, and so I exclaimed back.  AND she told me about her favorite Salvation Army. "You can go there right now," she said, "Just take the bus to... oh, I forget the street. But take any bus along so-and-so street and tell the driver to let you off at the Salvation Army. He'll know. THAT one is really, really great."

Well, Jon couldn't be persuaded to "go right now, " since it was close to dinnertime, but he could -- what a guy -- be easily persuaded to go the next day. And, yes, the half-price sale which was in effect that day (and which I forgot to mention) would be in effect all weekend.  It was at that store the next day that I found something I had not yet found in any thrift store anywhere. 

This was the high point of our Montreal thrift-a-thon. Towards the end of the day, from a rack that I was perusing for the second time, suddenly and mischievously the sleeve of an extremely cool navy-ish Commes des Garcon jacket poked out.  It tapped my arm and whispered "Yoohoo." I had somehow not noticed it before (or it had not noticed me).  Now here it hung, innocent  and smirking, sporting an $8.00 price tag. But remember, this was half-price weekend. "Don't worry," I said to it.  "I'm buying you in a heartbeat."

For those who don't know, Commes des Garcon is, putting it very mildly, a lot more of a big deal than Jacob.  We're talkin' hundreds or thousands of dollars. A few seconds after grabbing this treasure, I spotted my friend from the Salvation Army of the day before.  "Hey, I just found a Commes des Garcon!" I exclaimed to her.  "Yup, you can get the greatest stuff in these stores," she replied. 

What made this jacket Commes des Garcon is probably the same thing that made it land in a thrift store -- namely, its asymmetry.  Anyone not in the know would think there was something wrong with it, the buttons unaligned or something.  Only  Commes des Garcon connoisseur would give that jacket the time of day.  And now it's hanging in MY jacket closet! I wore it yesterday back in Philly. It was September 21, the first day that weather permitted.  Moreover, I wore it into Joan Shepp, my very favorite non-thrift store, and was told, "You look FABULOUS."

I also found another navy-and-white, cotton-print, gored skirt just the correct length, which I like even more than the first one from Value Village because it has more navy and less white.  And in line at the checkout counter, I noticed jewelry which I had not noticed before. They let me look behind the counter. And there I found the most intricate, most indescribable navy glass beaded necklace.  It was subtle and possibly expensive as all getout, but their price tag said 1.99 Canadian dollars (moreover, half price).  Into the bag it went.

In summary, I found the thrifts in Montreal NOT as great or as numerous as the ones in Philly, but that's just me.  And we only thrifted for two-and-a-half days. That's not enough time to become an expert.  Also, sometimes you have to visit a store more than once to really know and appreciate it. A friend of mine in Philly swears by Montreal thrifts, but she's also including the church bazaars and yard sales, things we didn't get to explore.

On the trip TO Montreal, I had been able to manage with only carry-ons. Not so the trip BACK.  I was, of course, prepared for the occasion, having bought in one of the Salvation Army stores according to plan, a large black carry-on -- actually, two just in case. (Remember, half-price)

Next summer we might go to Japan.  And if there's thrifting there, I'll REALLY be excited. (I love Japanese design.)  And you'll hear from me...

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Inspired by a Sheet
by Rebecca Kurek

In the Autumn of 2001 and right after the horrors of September 11 th , I was inspired by an industrial green colored sheet. Back in Baltimore (I now live in New York City), I had "Thrifty Thursdays" with my dear friend Shone. We'd meet up after work and head to our favorite Value Village. We usually followed it up by "making a run for the border" with a healthy dinner at Taco Bell. Ah, those were the days!

Shone and I had been making our Halloween costumes from thrift store inspirations for years. A huge piece of black and gold striped material led to Cleopatra couture. A circa 1970's white flowing dress became a Greek goddess getup.

We even picked up a white puffy shirt and turned Shone's fiancé into Zorro. There was the kimono-inspired geisha, a garish floral housedress a la Mrs. Roper from the defunct sitcom "Three's Company," the black pharmacy-length suit jacket that prompted me to do my best X-Files Agent Scully impersonation, and a brown hooded cape that Shone still has stashed for when she needs to whip up an Obi-Wan Kenobi disguise.

But it was that hospital green sheet that became my best thrift store costume ever. After 9/11 we were all feeling a bit more patriotic, and that sheet was the exact color of the Statue of Liberty. Of course I could have gone out and bought a pre-made costume, but what is the fun in that? Shone and I looked at each other and silently agreed we were up to the challenge.


So after many bottles of Stiff Stuff to get the folds to stay in my safety-pinned gown, a few Styrofoam shapes and an old shoebox artfully turned into a tablet, crown, and torch with a little papier-mache and green paint, and enough green glitter hairspray to choke a goat, I was all set. We headed out to the town square with the rest of the heathens to strut our stuff. This was the same year as the Greek goddess costume for Shone. I have never been stopped by so many people. They took pictures with me, waved, and even sang. It was a good year to show my love of America.

So when you hit the thrift stores this fall, remember to browse through the sheet section. You never know what might inspire your best Halloween costume EVER.

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by Selena Mordue a.k.a. Apron Thrift Girl

As we were driving across the state toward Spokane, we stopped in a tiny, tiny town with a very small main street. Half of the stores were empty and it was virtually vacant of people. Since it was only 11:00 a.m., I think I figured out why it was empty.

Apparently in this small farming community, you can sew and get sauced at the same time. Even when I spotted this sign, I figured that the two stores might be side by side and sharing a sign name. Nope. When I walked in, there was your whiskey and vodka on one side and your quilting fabric on the other. Quilting classes must be really popular at "Wild Flowers."

There was a yard sale at a closed building on one corner of main street. While my husband Dave took the children on a walk around the block to stretch their legs, I went in to have a look.

$1.50 for everything above. A partially made Holly Hobby quilt, a vintage pillowcase, a Strawberry Shortcake oven mitt from the 80's, a canvas shopping bag, a baby brush which I gave to my daughter Cerys for her doll, a toaster cover, and a McDonald's comb from 1990. When I looked at the date, I thought, "Oh, that isn't very old at all." Then I realized it was 16 years ago. When did

1990 become 16 years ago? I graduated in that year. Mentally, I swear that was just a few years ago.

A vintage umbrella and a basket. Although a lot of locals in Seattle don't actually use umbrellas, when there is a downpour I have been known to be sporting one. As a local, you can easily spot the tourist using one in the slightest drizzle.

My two big scores of the sale were these two vintage chenille bedspreads. They were $5.00 for the pair. Not worth a picture, but I also picked up two small vials of Mount St. Helen ash. My son Keiran was thrilled to have actual ash from a volcano. He held onto it like it was gold

I was really looking forward to thrifting outside of my home territory. I was hoping to discover new stores to hit on future trips east. In the end, I found one very expensive and poorly stocked Goodwill in the heart of Spokane. Like cows and their grass on the other side of the fence, the thrifting can tend to look better in other people's towns. Some days you'll find me staring out at nothing, daydreaming of going to the Midwest and finding vintage stuff galore. I have no idea how I would get the load home, but it's a dream I'll have until I get to the Midwest. For now, I'm pretty satisfied with our stores around here.

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Blue Jeans for Jesus Thrift Store
by Reverend Kimberly Dreiman

Blue Jeans for Jesus Thrift Store is located at 208 N. Boone St. in Olney, Illinois. The store opened approximately six years ago and is owned and operated by my mother Pastor Joyce Dreiman and me. The store has many goals, but the main goal is to spread the good news of Jesus. Our other goals include providing a place for people to donate good used clothing, knickknacks, books, and much more, and to provide a place where people can purchase used items at a very reasonable price.

The store was once part of my house and is now split into two parts with my living quarters in the back. This is more economical because there is no rent to pay and there is only one set of utilities, which enables the thrift store prices to be kept low. For example, a bag of clothes is $4.00. Shoes are sold for 25 cents a pair, and knickknacks are usually priced under $5.00. The store also sells a limited amount of furniture, and the furniture is sold for under $20.00. Mattresses and bed frames are usually given away, but sometimes a donation is received for these items.

The inside of the store is made up of four rooms. In the first room are knick-knacks and children's shirts. The next room has women's clothes, books, and shoes. Men's clothes, knickknacks, and exercise equipment are in the next room.

The last room is used for furniture, children's pants, and checkout area, which also has a lighted showcase. A prayer box is located on the counter, and many people put prayer requests in the box or request immediate prayer, which is administered right away at the thrift store.

Volunteers from all walks of life are welcome here. Most of the volunteers are volunteering for community service hours to repay fines or to fulfill community

service to receive food stamps. Last year I had a volunteer
whodonated 32 hours a week of volunteer time so he would qualify for food stamps. He enjoyed volunteering, so he went above what was required to receive food stamps. God has blessed him with a full-time job, and he still volunteers if he has time and there is an urgent need.

Blue Jeans for Jesus Thrift Store also bags and sells unwanted and torn items of clothing to a business in St. Louis, Missouri. They purchase the clothes from us by the pound and pay a set price for each pound. This company then sells some for rags and sends the rest to third-world countries so that basically no items are wasted that are donated.

Blue Jeans for Jesus Thrift Store raises money for the food pantry and supports Ring of Fire Evangelistic Ministry/Blue Jeans for Jesus Food Ministry, which is located at 300 W. Chestnut in Olney, Illinois. The newest way the ministry and thrift store are reaching out to the community is by providing the option of ordering Angel Food Ministry from the thrift store. This means that for $25.00, people will receive $60.00 of food.

You can also visit Blue Jeans for Jesus thrift store online.

The Birth of Blue Jeans for Jesus
By Pastor Joyce Dreiman

"Can you help?" Asked the nurse on the other end of the phone line. She was calling about a patient who had undergone surgery and needed meals fixed for a few months. He did not qualify for government programs and had no friends or family to help. I didn't hesitate. I replied, "The ministry would be glad to help." I am a licensed pastor in Olney, Illinois, and co-founder of a ministry called Ring of Fire Evangelistic Ministry/Blue Jeans for Jesus Food and Clothing Ministry. For the next two months I fixed breakfast and

lunch with a balanced meal menu and delivered these meals to the man in need. The good nutritional meals were the key to this man's recovery. A wounded body will not heal without good nutritional food to provide nutrients to heal the body. One night at a Monday evening Bible study at my home I shared my vision of having a free meal for anyone who was hungry or in need of Christian fellowship. The next morning a building was located.

I had an early morning paper route, and I was delivering to a barbershop that had a building for rent next to it. The Lord spoke to my heart and told me to rent the building for the ministry, so the building was rented tohave the outreach dinners and church services in. The Lord opened the doors to provide what was needed. Large tables and chairs were needed to give the people a place to sit for worship services and to eat the meal. I stopped at a rental place to inquire about renting chairs. God had planned my steps because I ran into a person I had known in grade school. We talked, and I explained about starting this new food outreach ministry. She asked for my address and asked me to wait to rent the chairs. I thought that was a strange request, but I obeyed. A few days later she sent a check to cover the expense of buying new chairs. Soon after that, someone else donated brand new tables.

The Lord again spoke to my heart and said, "I am sending you the lost, the hurting, and those that other churches will turn away. You will be preaching and serving in blue jeans. This ministry will be different from all others." I knew this vision would need special workers with the same call from the Lord, so at the beginning I did the cooking and serving. Volunteers helped with the clean up. I went to the local newspaper, and they published the story about this new outreach ministry called Ring of Fire Evangelistic Ministry/Blue Jeans for Jesus Food and Clothing Ministry. A local TV station came and did a story about the ministry and the future plans to expand the ministry to include a homeless shelter. God was opening doors, and I was to trust and obey. The evening meal was a success. The ministry never knows who will show up or how many to cook for. There is always enough food to meet the needs, and sometimes I believe God by miraculous means multiplies the food when supplies are low.

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How Did I Become a Thrifter?
by Kristine Ingersoll

My Mother always said she'd buy my clothes, as long as it was understood that it was Kmart brand. I got my first job at 16, and with my first paycheck I went to the mall. After looking around for a few minutes, I said no way would I ever buy a pair of jeans that took me ten hours of work to afford. I found my first Goodwill and have been hooked ever since. I will NOT purchase new, and I'm now 40 years old. I live in the Las Vegas area, and as you probably know, the cost of living has skyrocketed here to astronomical proportions. It's the equivalent of living in Los Angeles now.

So as a single parent trying to make ends meet, I've become one of the greatest thrifters, and I've incorporated my friends in on this deal. I used to shop at Wal-Mart because they have great bargains for new merchandise. However, when my son, who is 16, wanted to purchase a new pair of jeans recently, I told him, "With that $20, you can buy three or four pairs at the thrift store instead of one at Wal-Mart." He wasn't really keen on the idea, but he agreed to go with me. Now he's hooked, too! I heard him telling his buddies, "Don't shop at the mall, guys, it's too expensive. Just go to Savers." I'm such a proud mama! My girlfriend also thanked me so much for sending her to your site. While she was visiting her mom in California, they used TheThriftShopper.Com to find some new places to shop. She said she was so excited because they found places they'd never heard of, and she brought me back a Santa statue for my collection. My entire living room is decorated for the Christmas season year round, and I have 79 Santa figurines and statues on a shelf above my couch. As for the worst thing I've ever thrifted, I once found this statue of a knight with a sword that stood about 12 inches high. Everyone said it was the ugliest thing they ever saw. I don't know why, but I loved it and thought it gave my apartment "culture." I was 19. It's long gone now, but I remember getting a lot of flack over that one. Thanks for the site! I'll continue to use it even when I move back to Ohio.

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A Helping Paw

Lefty and his siblings were born on the streets. How can you look at his face and not want to help?

Star Princess was left on the street with a bad arm. She never would have survived without A Helping Paw

A Helping Paw is a no-kill, volunteer-run organization dedicated to increasing the human/animal bond and decreasing the deaths of innocent homeless animals. According to the Humane Society, over 70% of cats & kittens and 60% of dogs in shelters are destroyed. A Helping Paw is a no-kill organization. Though we are unable to take in every pet due to space and lack of funding, every pet we take in gets a second chance at life. Our efforts directly benefit kill organizations by lessening the amount of animals at these facilities. A Helping Paw is run fully by special people who care enough to share their time to help the innocent lives that ask for so little but give back so much in return.

Through the efforts of our dedicated volunteers and with financial support of animal lovers like you, we have saved hundreds of animals from suffering a cruel death. Many of the pets we take in would normally be euthanized by other shelters due to medical costs and lack of space. If a pet has any problems, regardless of how mild, people won't adopt them. Humans aren't perfect, so why should we expect our pets to be? A Helping Paw doesn't think a pet should be killed just because it has a simple medical problem or is a bit nervous around strangers. Every pet we take in will remain with us either permanently or until we can find it a great new loving home.

Please help us continue saving these wonderful animals either by adopting a 'special' pet, or sending a financial donation to help us care for one. A Helping Paw is funded exclusively by people like you who want to stop the killing of innocent lives. We do not get one penny from the government nor town contracts. Every penny we get is stretched so we can help as many animals as possible. Our "Angel Wings" program appeared in the ASPCA's 101 great shelter ideas, and we are proud members of the Humane Society and the Very Best Pet Network. We've also had mention in most local papers and national coverage in Cat Fancy Magazine. A Helping Paw is a registered 501(c)(3) all volunteer nonprofit organization. Your donation is fully tax deductible. And because we are a small organization who doesn't pay their CEO's hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, 100% of your hard-earned funds goes to the care and rescue of homeless pets.

There are only two thrift stores in Massachusetts dedicated to homeless pets, and we are proud to be one of them. Though we will help people and pets from any area, the two towns we do the majority of our work in do not have municipal services for cats, which leaves these wonderful animals abandoned. In one neighborhood alone we have rescued over 65 cats. That's 65 less cats breeding on the streets, and it didn't cost the tax payers a penny. Each and every one has been vetted and placed up for adoption. By reducing the population on the streets, we prevent the spread of disease, not just to other animals but people as well. In addition, we offer low-cost spay/neuter programs to low income individuals who can't afford the high cost of these surgeries.

We also provide classrooms with a wonderful publication called Kind News. Each classroom gets 30 issues every month. This publication, with its fun format, encourages reading and teaches kindness and compassion, not just towards pets and the environment but to others as well. We also have a Senior for Senior program that places older, calmer pets with senior citizens. Studies show that providing a senior with a pet can directly benefit their mental health and increase their activity, making them all-around healthier. Adoption fees are either waived or drastically reduced.

Currently we are struggling to raise a minimum of $10,000 by December in order to keep our facility open. Anyone wishing to help us stay open can make financial donations to A Helping Paw, P.O. Box 387, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532.

Visit A Helping Paw online at

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ZODIAC THRIFTER October Horoscope


Minor accidents are possible, so watch your health and don't be impulsive this month, Libra. Pay attention to all financial matters early in the month and clear the decks so you can relax and enjoy being intimate with your partner on a weekend getaway. Don't let anything distract you two. You might not have a chance to be alone like this for a while since the holiday season is quickly approaching.


You'll be well armed for arguments this month, Scorpio, and no one will be able to get you to bend to their ways. Anyone who tries to disagree with you will be intimidated. Your already passionate personality will be cranked up to the max, and you'll be busy rushing around buying things to celebrate with. Those who come through your door will be impressed with your stocked pantry and fridge. Watch your sugar intake and go easy on the chocolate.


Even though you don't like to, Sagittarius, this month you'll have no choice but to keep secrets. There's a specific issue involving you-know-who that just cannot be divulged. You can either keep a low profile or keep your tendency to gossip in check, no matter how much you're dying to share forbidden tidbits with your buddies. Luckily you'll have a lot to do and this will help keep you occupied. Now is the time to improve your mental and spiritual health.


You know that friend that you'd like to be more than friends with? Well, you're in luck because they're thinking along the same lines. Forget the platonic relationship and consider how to turn it into a love affair. You'll come up with the perfect way to do it. Other friends will take up a lot of your time this month, but be careful you don't get stressed out. You've always known how to keep your cool, so rely on your tried and true relaxation techniques to stay calm.


It's a good thing that stress makes you perform your best, Aquarius, because this month you won't be able to impress authority figures with anything less than a stellar performance. The good news is that the bonus, raise, or promotion you've earned is definitely coming to you. In personal relationships, close friends are easy for you to come by, but all of a sudden you'll be craving intimacy. Don't pretend you're not interested in getting closer because someone who wants the same will inspire you to admit it.


Stop daydreaming about that faraway fantasy relationship and take some action. It doesn't matter if it's been years since you've seen this person, you don't want to waste anymore time wishing. Find out the truth now. Before you make any snap decisions, take your blinders off and look around you first. You've been so wrapped up in your thoughts that you haven't noticed someone near who's been trying to get your attention, and they may be just what you've been looking for.


Don't chicken out and break off eye contact when you're flirting this month, Aries. It's okay to stare back too long when that sexy someone can't tear their eyes away from you either. On the business front, an investor sees your potential and you will give them a quick return on their money. Conversations might get convoluted and need to be repeated in order to clear the air. Don't be anyone's doormat, and don't bother getting involved with dishonest people.


If you're single, Taurus, October is the best month for you to get involved. You'll be a magnet for new and exciting admirers, and by the second week of October you'll know whether a new relationship will last. You're also likely to receive a chunk of money this month, but be careful not to celebrate too much, especially where your stomach is concerned. You won't want to waste time trying to recover from eating too many rich foods when there are so many wonderful things in store for you this month.


Work will keep you busy this month, Gemini, but don't let it overwhelm you. You'll need to maintain a degree of confidentiality, so resist the temptation to spill the beans about unfinished projects and make sure to keep secrets where they belong -- at work. Unfortunately, this may cause some conflicts at home with your sweetheart. Things might come to the surface around the 20th, and secrecy might not be possible any longer.


Unattached Cancers will have their share of admirers this month, so allow yourself to be extra picky. The best of the best are going to be available for you to choose from. There is also the possibility of a joint financial situation that could be lucrative for all parties involved. Make sure to get enough sleep this month because you'll be busy with invitations and visitors, and you won't want to turn down a single offer.


You'll have lots of company this month, Leo, and you're going to be at your entertaining best. Get-togethers are more special because of you. Spruce up your place with some thrifted dishes, glasses, and knickknacks, and don't be afraid to ask that special someone to linger a little bit longer at the party. You're going to go to great lengths to make your significant other happy. Be prepared for change this month in the form of a new place to live or a new roommate.


Siblings or neighbors will be begging you to help them improve their social lives. You know a lot of exciting people that they'd like to meet, so don't refuse any invitations. It just takes a quick glance for you to connect with people this month, and it will be well worth it for you to get to know acquaintances better. You might get involved with a successful, attractive person who happens to have deep pockets that they're not afraid to delve into.

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Beware of the Dressing Room
Thrift store dressing rooms can be hazardous. The possibility of stepping on something horrifying or dangerous is very real. If possible, wear slip-on shoes that you can slip back on while you're trying on pants, skirts, or shorts so that your bare feet never have to touch the floor. Make sure that the dressing room door is securely locked behind you and that no one walking by can see in. If you have a thrifting buddy, take turns standing guard for each other in front of the dressing room door.

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In honor of the Trachtenburg Family, this month's recipe is suitable for vegetarians.

Spaghetti with Eggplant and Chili Pepper

2 large, firm eggplants
1 piece red chili pepper
1 clove garlic
Olive oil
¾ pound spaghetti or vermicelli
1 small bunch parsley

Peel and dice the eggplants, sprinkle with salt, and leave in a colander with a plate and weight on top for 2 hours to drain, then rinse and dry.

Sauté the piece of chili pepper and the garlic clove in some olive oil over low heat.When the garlic has turned brown, discard it and fry the diced eggplant in the oil. When golden brown and crisp, remove and drain on paper towels. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain and turn into a heated serving dish. Drizzle a little olive oil over the spaghetti, sprinkle with chopped parsley, mix well, and top with the fried eggplant. (No cheese is served with this dish.)

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