By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 23, 2018) During the last six months, Berlin’s nonprofit Church Mouse Thrift Shop has provided monetary donations and services for local organizations such as Worcester Youth and Family Counseling, Meals on Wheels, Diakonia, the Spirit Kitchen and Operation We Care.
“The Mouse,” as Helen Wiley often refers to it, is an outreach arm of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Berlin. Wiley oversees operation of the storefront, on 101 North Main Street.
“The purpose of the Church Mouse, for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, is to provide a shop that can generate monies to be used for outreach to our local community,” she said.
Wiley said the Berlin Fire Company would receive a donation in September.
“We always give them a donation in honor and remembrance of 9/11,” she said, adding the Cricket Center in Berlin would get a check from the Church Mouse in October.
Currently, the downtown Berlin shop is seeking donations of new or gently used items to help further its outreach.
Wiley said the biggest needs are costume jewelry, sets of glassware, serving dishes, coffee mugs, DVDs and CDs, complete puzzles, and books for children and adults. She said hardback and paperback books are always sought after, especially novels and cookbooks.
“Also, we will start to accept fall clothes in the beginning of September,” she added.
To donate, call Wiley at 443-513-6655. Small donations can be brought into the shop between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Cash and check donations are also accepted.
“They’re always welcome and it will be given back to the community,” she said.
Along with aiding other area nonprofits and providing meals for the needy, Wiley said the Church Mouse has also been there for many local people who just stop in and want someone to talk to.
“Sometimes when people come into the shop, they come and they just want to share their story. Sometimes, that’s just what our mission is – to be there and to listen,” she said. “You might have your own troubles and worries, but when you turn and listen to someone else … you can know that it makes them feel good.
“That’s just what we’re all about,” Wiley continued. “We’re always there and we try to be there for folks and, when you give, you get back. And you often get a lot more back than you give out.”