After Bargain Shop and Caring Corner – two of Ipswich’s popular second hand clothing stores – had to shut their doors due to COVID-19, volunteers came together and launched a new digital platform to ensure the shops’ vital services could continue to help those in need.
The new online Ipswichthrift.store, which is run by Ipswich Lutheran Church volunteers, offers a click and collect service where the local community can buy preloved items at discount prices.
“Ipswichthrift.store was born out of the need to make affordable clothing and bedding available to people during the COVID-19 lockdown period,” Ipswich Lutheran Church lead pastor Ben Hentschke said.
“While we had to close our Bargain Shop and Caring Corner stores to protect our volunteers who make the service possible, we also knew that people relied on these stores for clothing and other needs.
“So we decided to create an online store to ensure that need is still being met during COVID-19.”
Rev Hentschke said the community’s response to Ipswichthrift.store has been outstanding.
“We were really excited when the orders started coming through the website; it’s great to see the community take advantage of the online store during these times,” he said.
“The community’s support in terms of donating has also been great.
“We’ve had lots of people actively reaching out to us, sometimes during our online church services, to see how they can donate items including food and clothes.
“So we set up processes to allow them to still donate, while making sure it was safe for them and our volunteers.
“For some people in our community who have the means and are able to, that’s one way they can really help the wider community.”
Profits from the Ipswichthrift.store are used to help people in need in the local community.
“All profits from our second hand clothing shops, including our online store, help support those in need in our local community,” Rev Hentschke said.
“That includes helping to fund our food and household necessities parcels and donations to other care organisations.”
Rev Hentschke said they were looking at continuing the online Ipswichthrift.store in the future.
“It’s been working really well, so we’re looking at ways we could continue to offer the online service once we reopen our stores,” he said.
The Bargain Shop and Caring Corner stores both remain closed for the time being. In the meantime, check out Ipswichthrift.store online.