All Seasons started as a 3rd world service organization by Howard and Louise Nielsen, founders of Fold Craft Furniture. As their business became a successful venture, they felt that they would like to bless others as they had been blessed. The greatest need they found was in the poorest countries in the world, so they chose the name Third World Thrift Store. They began collecting clothing, small appliances and other necessities that could be easily shipped around the world. Their business plan was to take donations from their community, sell some of the donated merchandise to raise money for shipping costs to places like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Uzbekistan, to name a few. As time went on, Howard found out that his shipments were being detained at customs, and that most of it was being opened, sifted through by border patrols, and sold for their own profit. Once this was discovered, he decided to switch to helping the people in his own community. About 30 or so years ago, the name was changed to All Seasons, and now serves the communities of Kenyon, Wanamingo, West Concord, Nerstrand and Dennison primarily, but people also come from other surrounding towns as well.
Donations consist of gently used clothing, small appliances, beauty products, housewares of all types, pictures, craft supplies and even monetary donations. If money is the gift, it can be designated as to where it is spent, too. Donations are gratefully accepted Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. Thrift store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Many people who come to donate also stop into the store to browse through the ever changing inventory, and maybe pick up a good deal for themselves.
The volunteers take in the items, making sure everything works, price them affordably, and get them on the shelves and racks. The income is used to pay the maintenance and utilities on their buildings, and purchase food from Channel One in Rochester to help supply the food shelf in town. Over the years, they have added a Community Center where seniors in the surrounding areas come to play cards, drink coffee and have treats. It has become a gathering place for fellowship and conversation, movies and other activities. It is open daily from 10 am to 1pm. It can even be rented out for $15 an hour for birthday parties, baby showers and other events. Everyone is welcome to visit and enjoy some small town hospitality and make new friends.
I spoke with Mary, the CEO of All Seasons, and she said how amazing this community is. Mary says, " This is one of the most benevolent and non-judgmental places I have ever served. People are kind and generous. The food shelf needs are constantly being met by cash and food donations, and we rarely see a depletion. We delight in our community's desire to support their friends and neighbors. We are very grateful."
The food shelf supports people who need temporary help, it offsets the rising food costs for people raising families, and helps seniors on a fixed income have healthy choices in the food they need. She told a story about a family who was down on their luck because both parents lost their jobs within 3 weeks of each other. They had children to support, and were worried about how they would feed their family. They were referred to the food shelf, and for a few months were coming regularly. Then, they stopped coming. About 2 months after they stopped coming, a large box full of donated food items appeared with a note thanking the food shelf for getting them through the dark times. What a wonderful way to say Thank You!!
As you can imagine all three programs are always in need of volunteers, donations of household items and non-perishable food items, as well as fresh produce and cash. They also sponsor events and fund raisers to help stock the food shelf. As the holidays are drawing near and the cold weather is sneaking up on us, the need for more donations and volunteers increase. Please stop in and see if we have anything you might need, or drop off things that may become someone else's treasures. We look forward to meeting you!
All Seasons Community Services is located at 530 2nd street in Kenyon.
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