Goodwill outlets have one of those brand names that fit a product or service so perfectly that they become the generic term for it. Jet Ski, Bubble Wrap, and even the infant PJs we call Onesies are actually trademarked brand names, to cite just a few. Surprising as it is, these names fit their purpose so well that most people are not even aware that they are trademarks. Yes, Gerber Childrenswear trademarked not only Onesies, but Twosies and Funsies, too.
“Goodwill outlet” is much like these other terms. To begin with, it is a good description of the service, or at least the spirit behind the service. It also has been used so much, for so long to describe the destination for things that are still in good shape, but for which we have no further use, that folks frequently just call the box of things they are discarding “the goodwill box.” And as the store, the source for putting those things in the hands of new users, goodwill outlet seems to be understood practically everywhere.
How the Church Mouse is Different
In the early 2000s, some “church ladies” at St. Luke’s, Hilton Head, founded The Church Mouse as a ministry to help support non-profit organizations doing good all around the area and the region. Men, too, soon found in The Church Mouse a more personal, local, and accountable version of the “goodwill outlet,” one that donors, volunteers, and customers alike find to perfectly fit their intentions and needs. The Church Mouse approach has rung so true for so many, that to-date more than $2.5 million has been raised from the sale of the items people donate, for the purpose of changing lives locally, and around the world.
Seeking to put a clear handle on what makes The Church Mouse different from a goodwill outlet, the ministry describes itself as a “Boutique Thrift Shop.”
One way to look at “boutique” is through the lens of the designers and brands – speaking of brand names – that people donate to The Church Mouse, and which shoppers happily find here. Neiman Marcus, Talbots, Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Lilly Pulitzer, Tommy Bahama, and more are among the wearables. Furniture crafted by Henredon and Drexel Heritage is on display. Kitchens and dining rooms graced by Le Creuset, Fitz & Floyd, and Waterford give up their glory to The Church Mouse, as grateful donors pass treasured items on to new homes when the times comes. Jewelry ranging from fun to heirloom is offered here, too. These are not necessarily names you meet so often at a goodwill outlet.
A Special Kind of Giving
Another difference between The Church Mouse and a goodwill outlet is that the charities we support are just as carefully selected as the items donated here for sale. Our annual evaluations are conducted fresh each year, and preference goes to applications from organizations located within the community – in Beaufort and Jasper Counties. To spread the Word, we award grants each year to Christian missions outside the U.S. also. In both these respects, we differ from a goodwill outlet.
In recent years, grants from The Church Mouse have included organizations that provide food, shelter, and clothing to folks in need; to prison ministries, to education and literacy, and to the physical and spiritual needs of babies, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or mental illness.
A 3600 Blessing
Charitable grants from The Church Mouse are only a part of the story. Volunteers and donors are just as likely to tell you that they prefer The Church Mouse as the happy shoppers here might do. We find it’s a pretty good example of “doing well by doing good.
When a family is downsizing as their children go off to college; when new arrivals in the sea islands are furnishing the home that they dreamed about; when a thoughtful person is looking for something worthwhile to do after retiring from a demanding career; all find The Church Mouse to be a blessing far beyond merely a goodwill outlet.
You’ll find The Church Mouse on Arrow Road, not far from the Sea Pines Circle, and easily within reach, for visitors and Hilton Head Island residents alike. We look forward to getting acquainted and having you see first-hand we much we differ from the typical goodwill outlet you’ll find.