On the last Wednesday of each month, St. James Episcopal Church transforms into an abundant thrift sale. Hours before the doors open at 9:30am, people are already lined up to secure their spots; otherwise, they might risk losing out on some of the best items.
Tables and racks line the room, filled with everything imaginable: dresses, pants, shoes, household items, children’s toys, scarves and more. Every piece is strategically sorted, priced and placed to guarantee a well-ordered event. Items in the main area range between 50 cents and two euro, a surprisingly low amount for the quality. Alongside this section is the “boutique,” where the prices are a bit higher depending on the brand. Although notably smaller in size, the boutique area contains some of the highest quality items from brands such as Gucci and Longchamp.
Those in charge worry that outsiders might think of the thrift sale as “just some rags”, but it is undoubtedly much more than that. “People are very surprised when they come; you can get beautiful trousers and skirts for one euro,” says Joan Fagnoni, lead organizer. “We’re selling very good quality stuff, and more people could benefit if they just knew about it.”
St. James Church urges people to donate whenever possible and accepts everything with a gracious heart. Because of this, the process of preparing for and carrying out the monthly sales is much more demanding than what meets the eye. While sorting through countless bags of donations, volunteers and organizers meticulously select what is displayed at the thrift sale. What doesn’t make it to the sale is then given away for free at St. James Food Bank, ensuring that nothing goes to waste.
The most rewarding aspect for those involved is how the money collected from these events is distributed. While half of the proceeds are given to the St. James Food Bank, Reverend Richard Easterling also highlights the direct relief funds and charity donations that are enabled by the thrift sales. Additional grants are given out at the end of each year to local organizations, such as Centro di Ascolto Uomini Maltrattanti.
“I don’t think it would be possible without the thrift sales…All that is done to provide for and help others because of them is invaluable,” Richard noted. For everyone involved—those who donate, organize and purchase—the outcome is overwhelmingly positive.
The thrift sale takes place on the last Wednesday of every month from 9:30 to 11:30am. Tickets are distributed the morning of the sale from 8:30-11am. Donations are readily collected on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am-12 noon. St. James Episcopal Church is always taking in new volunteers and donations. For more information, visit https://stjames.it/
About St. James Church
Located at via B. Rucellai, 9, St. James Episcopal Church is a member congregation of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and a Parish Church of the Anglican Communion.