By Jeanne Castro
Wear & Share – A Fairfield Bay Institution
Sue Calaway, Wear & Share President, recently gave Bay Rotarians and guests a glimpse into the past as well as plans for the future of a modest but much used organization located at 2491 Highway 330 S. At the far west end of the Bay, Wear and Share is not a pretentious building and gives no hint of its broad support or generous help provided throughout Van Buren County– all based on the simple goal of recycling castoffs for the benefit of others.
Originating from “Project Share”, a company being dissolved at the time, Wear and Share, Inc. began in 1995 as an ecumenical group under the direction of Reverend Glen Nagel of the Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church. In December, 1995, a non-profit organization was formed consisting of a board of directors elected by the six churches of Fairfield Bay: Cornerstone Evangelical Church, Fairfield Bay Baptist Church, Faith Lutheran Church, First United Methodist Church, Kirk of the Hills and St. Francis Catholic Church.
Initial fund raising efforts provided the buildings down payment and donations of good used clothing, furniture, housewares, etc. were accepted beginning January. The Grand Opening was on 3/2/1996 when there were prizes, refreshments and the Tri-Tones’ provided music. The first mortgage was paid off in 1998 and there since have been two building additions as well as numerous improvements. Utilizing volunteers primarily with over 7,000 hours recorded in 2010, total sales income was $92,187 in 2010. Additional income comes from a recent recycling company contract with “Charity Shoes”. Store expenses are kept down by the local churches (Peace Lutheran has taken over from Cornerstone) alternating with store cleaning duties on a bimonthly basis. Sue noted that some of the original volunteers are still active but there is an ongoing need for more volunteers to catalog, price and ensure the goods are rotated on a seasonal and demand basis.
Wear and Share, Inc. aids a variety of organizations including DHS, FFB Library, Food for Life, Main Street Kids, VBC Aging, VBC Literacy and FFB Animal Shelter among others and also funds educational and single parent scholarships. Support can be monetary as in helping pay family utility and medicine bills, foster child care and so forth or by directly providing individuals or families with clothing, furniture, etc. after a fire, flood or other such misfortune.
Wear and Share accepts all goods from jewelry, clothes, linen and household goods to computers and furniture. We are can’t accept appliances. As an ultimate example of recycling, with benefits being either immediate or long term, this non-profit organization is truly something to be proud of. Wear and Share is open Tuesday through Friday, 9-4:30 p.m. and Saturday, 9-1:30 p.m. Phone 884-3300.