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Shopping for a Good Cause

Lorton’s Attic provides revenue and services for programs and clients of the Lorton Community Action Center.

Sheron Flynn, store manager of Lorton’s Attic, works with volunteer Audrey Silvia of Springfield to organize a donation of gloves.

Sheron Flynn, store manager of Lorton’s Attic, works with volunteer Audrey Silvia of Springfield to organize a donation of gloves. Photo by Janelle Germanos

At Lorton’s Attic, the thrift store owned and operated by the Lorton Community Action Center, holiday shoppers can buy new gifts for everyone on their list, while at the same time donating to a local charity.

The store has just started their Re-Gift and Re-Love holiday event, where people can donate unwanted but still almost-new gifts for others to buy.

“Re-gift it, so that someone else will love it,” said Andrea Cochrane Tracey, director of development at Lorton Community Action Center and a resident of Alexandria.

As part of the Re-Gift and Re-Love event, the thrift store encourages donations of brand new items.

“We have this whole table of new things, special things that would make a nice gift item, that are moderately priced; it’s the ultimate recycling,” Cochrane Tracey said.

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Audrey Silvia, a volunteer from Springfield, organizes donations at the Lorton’s Attic thrift store.

PROCEEDS FROM LORTON’S ATTIC benefit Lorton Community Action Center programs. The thrift store also helps clients of the Lorton Community Action Center.

“The thrift store serves a very important purpose where we have an option where say we have a mother who comes to us, who is just getting out of a domestic violence situation. This way we are able to work with them, give them a dresser, we have a mattress over there, basic things that somebody needs to get their life back on track,” Cochrane Tracey said.

According to Alexandria resident Linda Patterson, who is executive director of Lorton Community Action Center, furniture is always a major need of the thrift store.

“Not only can we give it to families who need it, but we also are able to sell it. All of the proceeds from the sales go back into the programs,” Patterson said. “We have a truck, and we can do furniture pick-ups each week.”

Clients who are receiving services from the Lorton Community Action Center can receive vouchers for shopping at the thrift store every three to six months.

“It’s very dignified, very respectful, they can come and shop with their kids, but they don’t have to pay for it,” Cochrane Tracey said. “They still get that experience of shopping and picking like anybody would, but they are able to get what they need.”

According to Cochrane, because the proceeds of the store benefit a local charity, people who donate to the store are really making a difference.

“That shirt that you’ve outgrown, or that shirt that your grandma gave you that you never liked, consider donating it. Because someone else would probably like it, and need it, and enjoy it. It’s a win-win, for sure,” Cochrane said.

Volunteers play a vital role in the operation of Lorton’s Attic.

“We have lots of volunteers who sort through people’s treasures and turn it into something that looks wonderful and appealing for people to purchase,” Patterson said. “We could not have the store operational without the very dedicated volunteers that we have.”

Audrey Silvia of Springfield has been volunteering at Lorton’s Attic for a few months, and enjoys interacting with others.

“I love the people. I don’t know how else to say it. I love the people,” Silvia said.

Shirley Steenstra of Lorton has been volunteering for about three years, and found Lorton’s Attic on one of her walks. She had some time on her hands after her husband died, and stopped in one day to see if the store needed volunteers.

“It’s fun going through the donations and seeing what’s coming in,” Steenstra said.

Patterson said one of the biggest challenges has been spreading awareness of the thrift store and the fact that it is operated by Lorton Community Action Center, which has been serving the community through a food pantry, coat donations, after-school programs, ESL classes and other programs to prevent poverty and homelessness for 38 years.

“The store has been in this location since the late 90s, and we still periodically come across folks who didn’t realize this was our thrift store,” Patterson said.

LORTON COMMUNITY ACTION CENTER held its service stroll on Saturday, Nov. 16. Proceeds from the walk went towards programs at the LCAC. Envirosolutions matched registration fees, donations and food donations up to $10,000.