Shore Auxiliary members and Thrift Shop volunteers Millie Traa, left, and Kay Walsh with store manager Lori English.

This time of year we’re all enjoying the gorgeous weather, family fun at the beach, vacations and backyard barbecues. No matter the event, we often struggle with stretching our dollars so we can be well dressed for each occasion. One solution for getting more bang for your buck is right here in your backyard — the Shore Auxiliary Thrift Shop.

With locations in Somers Point and Marmora, the Shore Auxiliary Thrift Shop is a convenient and affordable option for local shoppers looking for high quality, name-brand merchandise. And the selection is often a pleasant surprise for many.

“The other day, a young woman came into the store with her mother looking for outfits to wear for her first job. She wanted to look professional but she was on a tight budget,” said Millie Traa, a Thrift Shop volunteer. “She was so surprised at the selection in the Thrift Shop. She purchased skirts, blouses, tops and even shoes. But what I think the most important thing she took home that day was confidence.”

Millie is a long-time member of the Shore Auxiliary, the medical center’s original fundraising organization. The auxiliary is made up of dedicated volunteers like Millie who work throughout the year on initiatives that include the hospital gift shop, golf tournaments and other community events in addition to the thrift shops. Since the auxiliary’s inception in 1940, it has donated more than $13 million to Shore Medical Center.

“Volunteering at the Thrift Shop makes me feel good because I’m helping others feel good,” said Traa. “Sometimes I help people shop for soldiers who are serving overseas, sometimes it’s helping a mom find something nice for herself because she puts most of her resources to her children. While I’m helping these individuals, I’m also helping the hospital and, in turn, the community.”

Brenda Martello, auxiliary chairperson, applauds Traa for her efforts and is eager to welcome new members to the auxiliary. “Millie does a wonderful job at our Thrift Shop. She loves to put a smile on people’s faces, and she loves to give back.”

For Martello and Traa, the auxiliary has essentially become a sisterhood of those who share the same passion. “We’re kind of like a Key Club for adults. We care about the hospital, the community and each other. While we have a wonderful group of dedicated women in our organization, we are always seeking new members who have the same type of love for Shore and the community as we do.

“Whether you are looking to work in the Thrift Shop a few hours a week, you are interested in helping with our golf tournaments or even helping organize one of our social events, we would welcome you with open arms.”

To learn more about the auxiliary and how to become a member, call 609.653.4646.

The Shore Thrift Shops are at 275 New Road in Somers Point, 609-653-8374, and 232 South Shore Road, South Shore Plaza, in Marmora, 609-390-0913.

Shore Thrift Shops welcome donations of new or gently used men’s, women’s and children's clothing, accessories, jewelry, lamps, artwork, china, glassware, housewares and decorative items.

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