Need some artwork to cover those barren walls? How about hard-to-find original Pyrex cookware? Or some plates to replace chipped and broken ones? The Needful Things Curated Thrift store may just be the place to look and you’d be helping a worthy cause.
Table at Woodstock CEO Emily Sherry has opened the thrift store in Boiceville across Route 28 from Onteora Middle/High School.
Most items for sale are donated and the goal is to fund The Table, which serves hot meals to those who need them. The Table started as a way to fill a need in Woodstock, but has grown to include anyone in the Onteora School District.
It’s not just meals these days that the Table provides. In order to make it happen, Sherry said she needed more space than what they had in Woodstock when they cooked meals from the kitchen at Provisions, a restaurant they operated from the Woodstock Golf Club. They served the meals from a rented space in the Dutch Reformed Church.
“Last year, we did over 1100 gifts for kids in the Onteora district. And we did it all from that space,” she said.
“They sent me a wish list. All of us worked together to organize it, then families were given things they actually really wanted for their kids,” Sherry said.
Her business partner, Anthony Heaney, delivered most of the toys.
The front of the Boiceville space is for the thrift shop and the back is used for The Table.
“The front is supposed to pay for the whole space. The goal is for it to not be a drain on the money that we raised for The table. But in order for that to be true, people have to come and know we’re here,” Sherry said.
Emily and Anthony do not take a salary for The Table, but the hope is the thrift store will pay the roughly $1400 per month in rent and utilities so they can continue to operate and not have to rely on revenue from Provisions. Volunteers work in the store when needed.
Sherry said they had made a sign to help bring in traffic, but in order to economize, it is for both the thrift shop and for the new home of Provisions, both in the same small shopping center that also houses the Hong Kong Chinese restaurant and the Boiceville Post Office. Provisions has focused on catering and is not ready to open its take-out business, so they didn’t want to confuse people who pull in looking for Provisions.
Like many in the restaurant business, Sherry and Heaney are grappling with staffing shortages, since many have moved on or found better-paying jobs. They hope to open in the fall.
At the thrift store, Sherry took time on a Sunday afternoon to explain its mission while Susan Raymond busily reorganized items and stocked shelves with recently donated items.
Raymond gets paid mainly in things from the thrift store and Sherry laughed when she said many of those items end up back at the store to be sold.
Sherry said she is grateful for the many people who come in and donate items, but monetary contributions seem to be down overall.
“It’s been lovely. People have been very generous. But then I think that they feel like we gave The Table a chair. We don’t have to write them a check this year,” Sherry said. “But it only translates if I can sell the chair.”
Sherry is not sure if it’s that people are overwhelmed with the amount of need, but financial contributions have dropped significantly over the last six months.
While the area has seen an influx of affluent people buying homes in the area, a growing number of people are in need.
“It’s been very interesting to me that I have not been able to get the word out to all of our new residents. But there is a real dichotomy here in the area,” Sherry said.
“They’re moving into this area because of the natural beauty… because of what our district represents to them. But I’m not sure that they fully understand that there’s a population here that doesn’t have the same resources,” she added.
“And I don’t know, if they understand that it means they don’t have shoes and a coat,” Raymond interjected.
“Or food, or Christmas presents or the ability to pay for their utilities,” Sherry added.
“Sometimes the school will even contact me and say we have a family that needs x,y and z. Are you guys able to help?”
Sherry said The Table does not ask for proof of financial need.
“If you walk up and you need a meal, you get a meal. We don’t ask any questions at all,” Sherry said.
“We all have different forms of poverty. And sometimes you can be impoverished in a way that has nothing to do with money. And sometimes you just need that connection with somebody saying, I care about you. That means something,’ she added. “If they ask for a meal, I give it to them. But it does mean I have to raise money regularly.”
Needful Things is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Credit cards are accepted.