Stories are an important way for Saint Vincent de Paul to connect to the community by showcasing our clients, staff, programs, and volunteers. To two of our star volunteers, their stories are greatly influenced by books. Renee Matsumoto and Marne Chapin Schreiber are San Leandro natives who have graciously dedicated their time to a cause dear to their hearts. The SVdP thrift store in Fremont prides itself on its vast and organized book department, and it’s mostly thanks to Renee and Marne. Renee came across the thrift store due to her passion for reading. She says, “I love to read, and when I worked in Fremont, I found the SVdP thrift store. I was able to buy many books through the years at very reasonable prices. When I retired, I had made up my mind to volunteer at SVdP, but I really only wanted to work in the book department.” Renee’s wishes came true and she began volunteering in 2015, when the book department was much smaller, and, though enjoyable, it was too much work for her alone.
Fortunately, last year, Renee’s “prayers were answered” and Marne joined the team. Renee and Marne immediately clicked, with Renee recognizing Marne’s love to read from the beginning. Marne has had a life full of book-related jobs. She has been a library clerk at an elementary school and a high school, volunteered as a book mender and docent tour guide at Fremont’s main library, and became the publicity chair for the Fremont Friends of the Library. She worked as the publicity chair for twenty three years and had hoped to return to her volunteer work at the Fremont library upon retirement. Unfortunately, they weren’t looking for volunteers at the time. According to Marne, “[...] when God shut that door, he opened another one for me directly to Patty and right into the Saint Vincent de Paul thrift store in Fremont and their thousands of books!” Marne fell in love with the opportunity to work in her own “private library.”
Together this team is unbeatable. They both agree that one of the best parts is meeting and working with each other. Renee comments, “Marne loves books as much as I do. We make a good team.” Marne returns the sentiment, saying, “We think so much alike and get along so well. It is a privilege to volunteer alongside her.” Presently, Marne and Renee only volunteer one day a week, but they are hoping to expand to two in the near future. The love and passion for this thrift store is apparent. Marne tenderly refers to the store as “our happy place.”
Their similar mindsets have helped in the necessary reorganization tasks. They have focused on making the search for the perfect book more accessible to customers. “A big part of our reorganization of the store’s book collection has been breaking out special sections and identifying them with easily readable shelf labels. For example, we took a hodgepodge of books labeled ‘Literature’ and developed sections for ‘Writing,’ ‘Poetry,’ ‘Plays’ [...]” reveals Marne. Accessibility is key to sharing the wonderful world of reading and imagination with the community. Renee adds, “While we still have more to do, we are proud to show off the book department. No matter what our customers are interested in, we’re sure to have a book for them!”
The SVdP thrift stores are a wonderful way to find things for a reasonable price. Better yet, the proceeds go to the SVdP programs and the mission of neighbors helping neighbors. Consider checking out one of the thrift stores (located in Fremont and Livermore) on your next shopping excursion. It is also worthwhile and welcome to donate gently used items to the thrift stores; your old books could become someone else’s next treasured story.
By Juli Jugan and Jessica Mott, Saint Mary's College of California
As we celebrate 80 years of service throughout Alameda County we are excited to be able to offer 80 ways to volunteer and get involved with St. Vincent de Paul.
If you are interested in doing one or more of these activities please reach out to Katie Troy, Volunteer Coordinator, at 510-877-9252 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at www.svdp-alameda.org.
Media, Networking, and Community
We all know times when a song plays, and we are transported. We go to another time, another place – it’s a powerful feeling. Music can impact us in important ways, including benefits to our health, concentration, and in improving our stress and anxiety. We support you in your quest for feeling better, looking better and getting great music right here at SVDP thrift.
To support your habit we are putting everything music on sale- you get better deal on it all! CDS, vinyl, instruments, books- anything you find that is music related is yours for 30% off!
That’s right folks, spin up your turntable, wipe down your fretboard- (or get one of ours, we have 12 guitars in stock) and come on in to get great deals at SVDP thrift, April 8-14
How do you get 30% off all books March 11-17? By using the secret phrase GREEN EGGS AND HAM of course!
Come and join your neighbors Sunday, June 4th for the second in our series of monthly Sunday afternoon events. This time around, we will hold a FREE workshop where you can learn how to take a boring garden pot and make it into a unique colorful mosaic. Bring your own clay pot- NOT glass- or buy one from us. We will supply all tools, as well as coffee and pastries from Peet's and Arizmendi. Store staff member Paula will be leading the troops in what promises to be a fun and exciting afternoon.
Last Sunday was the first ever First Sundays at SVDP Fremont. We hosted 8 women (men are always invited!) for our sea glass workshop which was a fun and relaxing way for folks to get to know more about us and to meet some neighbors and community members.
We're excited to continue our series with a Terra Cotta Pot project on June 4th, please stop by to see what we are up to or ,email fremont@svdp-alameda,org for more information.
Fremont Thrift Store's First Sundays
Please join your friends and neighbors at the St Vincent de Paul store for the kick-off of First Sundays- starting with a seaglass workshop Sunday May 7 from 1-3pm.
We will be making seaglass from old glass vases or other glass items you can either purchase at the store (preferably) or bring from home. We will provide the additional simple materials and instructions required for this DIY project.
Fremont SVdP Thrift
Celebrate Dr Seuss' 113 Birthday, Book Artistry, Coffee and our newly improved (HUGE) book sections Feb 24-Mar 2!
"You can find magic wherever you look, sit back and relax, all you need is a book!" -Dr Seuss
3777 Decoto Road
1817 2nd street
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr Seuss
An opportunity to come across something new, a chance encounter with a new friend, time alone to just browse- these are a few things that bring people in to bookstores. In this digital age it can be hard to to slow down, take your time, and lose yourself in a new idea or fantasy story. Bookstores provide all of this, bookstores are magical.
SVDP thrift has some great book browsing in their stores; with sections from crafts to cooking, bios to science fiction, there's something for everyone at our Fremont and Livermore locations.
March 2nd is national reading day and we are celebrating the beauty of reading great books by cleaning out the old, bringing in the new, reorganizing, beautifying, magical-izing and alphabatizing our book sections; some of the largest local book stores in the East Bay! Stay tuned for our special celebration announcements and deals in February!
Second-hand items have a story.
There’s something much more rewarding about choosing a one-of-a-kind sweater or wild skirt rather than a generic piece from your fashion big box store. There’s the thrill of the find, the conversations you have along the way, or the truly unique looks that you can create. Second hand just creates stories- from where they’ve been and what you make with them, to what you tell others about their journey.
Saving (yours and the earths) resources and reducing waste.
There is already enough stuff in the world, and every time you buy new you feed the consumer demand cycle for creation of new goods. Buying thrift is better for the environment, it saves resources, it reduces emissions, and those items don’t get shipped to the landfill. Oh, and let’s not forget about the $$ resources you save.
It’s more community-friendly.
Department stores and national or international chains are where most people buy their new clothes and furniture. These businesses rely on global supply chains and overseas manufacturing ordering huge quantities to keep costs low. They also encourage us to consume more and more.
Second-hand stores are mostly independent and local. Many stores are just regular folks, trying to make a living through selling excess stuff. They hire local and often have a great community around the store that know the employees and each other. If you have the choice, why not choose to support local small business where you can get to know your merchants and neighbors and keep your money in the local economy.
It means stepping off the consumer treadmill.
For many, shopping can be a type of entertainment that means buying stuff that you didn't even know you needed until stepping into a store. Many impulse purchases sit unused in closets (we see LOTS of these things in our donation room) Marketers pull at us to shop for the newest trend or hottest items, and we frequently respond like palov’s dog regardless of what we need or even want. Being more deliberate about the choices we make puts us back in control of our lifestyle- and our pocketbook.
BONUS: Shop nonprofit and you serve people in your community
Thrift stores like St Vincent de Paul exist for all of the above reasons, but also to bring profits to our mission of helping our neighbors in need. This includes food assistance, helping find housing or providing emergency shelter, to job training to provide a path to full time employment. There are many choices you can make about where you shop for your thrift and secondhand items, choosing a nonprofit enterprise is one more thing you can use to make your shopping decisions count.