What could be more enjoyable than shopping for a good cause? We feature a few local organizations that are finding fun ways to get the community behind their mission. 

Sign of the Arrow

    Sign of the Arrow, a needlepoint and crafts gift shop in Ladue, benefits the community ‘one stitch at a time’ by providing more than $3 million in donations to various organizations since 1966. Store manager Julie Filean says, “We have an annual grant process in which volunteers or members of the St. Louis Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity nominate organizations. We then have a committee that determines which organizations are the recipients of our donations.” Last year, more than 10 charities received funding from Sign of the Arrow.

    Sign of the Arrow gets items from markets in cities such as Dallas, Atlanta and the state of California. Filean says the wonderful process of collecting and reselling for charitable donation all started with a group of women who were members of the Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity. “They were looking for a way to give back to the community. Some were needle pointers and crafters, and the store began as a place where volunteers could sell their items,” she explains. “Over the years, it transitioned to a traditional resale shop as opposed to us making things to sell.”  The shop provides custom needle point canvases, as well as the needlepoint to go with it, needles—even purses and picture frames.

Potentials for Youth in Need

    Potentials, a new upscale resale store in Creve Coeur, supports the various programs provided by Youth in Need. Organization spokeswoman Lisa Maurer explains, “As more nonprofit budget cuts were being made, we realized we needed another way to raise money for our programs.” Youth in Need serves those in the community through “residential programs, foster care case management, homeless outreach, counseling and support groups, education and development in multiple communities,” Maurer notes.

     Items at Potentials, which will celebrate its grand opening Apr. 5, are donated to the shop by individuals, as well as consignors throughout communities. “We are taking ladies’, men’s and teen clothing, also—furniture and home décor items,” Maurer says. The organization has volunteers who sort through items, and then anything not sold is donated to other thrift stores like Goodwill. “If we have a client in need, we may donate unsold items to them, as well.”

Miriam School Switching Post

    For almost a decade the Miriam Foundation has raised money to provide scholarships for students attending Miriam School, a school for children with multiple learning disabilities. The Switching Post, the school’s resale shop, uses its profits to provide, some of the $600,000 in tuition assistance to 60 percent of students at the school, according to development director Sarah Scott.

    The Switching Post “offers fine antiques, gently used furniture and collectibles,” Scott says. “Most things come in from people selling their homes and cleaning out. But donations from anyone in the community are welcome, just call the shop and we can come pick up your items.” Store manager Susan Sewell adds, “Don’t forget to come shopping as well!” The Switching Post began in the Central West End, moved to Clayton and eventually to the current location, on Big Bend Boulevard. What began as a fundraising event now has more than 50 volunteers, all of which allow the store to keep its doors open. “We couldn’t do it without them,” Sewell notes.

Upscale Resale for Willow’s Way

    Upscale Resale donates all of its proceeds to Willow’s Way, an organization that helps young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities including autism, epilepsy and learning disabilities. Willow’s Way serves more than 600 individuals in the community by providing individualized supported living, home care options and other programs. “All donations come from consignment, and people in the community drop off items for women,” says store manager Amy Hoover. The store offers accessories and clothing from designers such as Ann Taylor, Coach, J. Jill, Juicy Couture, Louis Vuitton and Prada.

    The store wasn’t always a part of Willow’s Way, Hoover explains. “The organization purchased Upscale Resale three years ago in hopes of turning a profit that could be used for the programs that Willow’s Way provides.” The store has been around for 17 years, but only recently purchased and used for the nonprofit organization. The store is located on Manchester Road near Sappington Road.  LN