The Optimist Club in Copperas Cove is the only Optimist Club in the nation that has a secondhand store as the primary money maker for child cancer prevention. The store located in the Cove Terrace Shopping Center receives merchandise from generous individuals in the community. When manpower, trucks and trailers are available, the club can collect the items.
“Some of the things are leftovers from garage sales,” said club member Sandhor Vegh. “Within the last month the store picked up four truckloads.”
The shop sells various items including clothes, books, household items, decorative items and more. Vegh said mattresses are the only things the store cannot accept as donations along with other items that cannot be sanitized.
Money from the store goes toward family and medical needs of children fighting cancer, including some families in the Cove community.
“We have given parents money to take children to doctor appointments,” Vegh said. “We help buy gas to get them to and from the hospital.”
The store also paid repair costs for a child’s wheelchair.
Trish Lemire has been the manager since the store opened six years ago. She said local agencies such as the Boys & Girls Club, Blue Santa and the Soup Kitchen also benefited from the profits. Donated items from the store are also shared with those in need, including military families.
“Some families experiencing a catastrophe are given free things,” Lemire said. “Sometimes foster families get clothes, kitchenware and furniture. Several military families just need help until they get their household goods.”
Store merchandise is sold at reasonable prices, with most items priced to sell.
“Suggested prices for items like books are 25 cents,” Lemire said. “Customers can buy pants and clothes items for a suggested price of a dollar. Sometimes the Optimist Club has bag sales on specific items where customers can pay a dollar to fill a bag with selected items.”
Donations can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The club meets the second Tuesday every month from noon to 1 p.m. at the store located in Cove Terrace Shopping Center.