Charity comes in many sizes

HUDSON — In the world of used clothing what goes around comes around. And around.

For example, at the Second Show in Hudson, the net proceeds from sales of donated clothes and other items are dedicated to three community uses each year; The Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation, the non-profit, fundraising and volunteer arm of the hospital, and Operation Unite, a non-profit that provides cultural, performing and visual arts programs for youth in Columbia County are always two of them.

The Second Show, itself, a non-profit, selects a specific project every year as its third recipient. Recent projects have included outfitting a telemetry unit and updating waiting rooms at the hospital and the creation of a multipurpose room — a reception area/living room — for the Kaaterskill Care Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Catskill.

Carol Lavender, who has managed the Second Show since its creation in 1996, reports that more than $500,000 was donated by the organization to community purposes in its first 10 years alone.

But the activities and effects of the Second Show are intentionally spread beyond its donations. Indeed, when founded by Jill Salerno and others, the goal was to create a presence for the hospital in the community. The Second Show does that not only by donating outside the hospital’s circle, but also by recruiting volunteers from the community to work in the shop, and by working with other groups. Residents of The Red Door Community Residence, a rehabilitation facility, assist the shop with the pick-up and delivery of large items. The Second Show also takes donations of furniture, books, records, and “virtually anything” that is saleable.

The shop, at 519 Warren Street next to Baba Louies restaurant, also maintains a “Free Rack,” and the clothes there are available without charge to anyone who needs them. The store also gives clothes and furniture under a voucher system established with the county Department of Social Services and the city Fire Department, to victims of domestic violence or fires who have lost their possessions.

On Chatham’s Main Street, ReWraps was started by PS 21 founder Judy Grunberg, with a similar purpose. Like the Second Show’s Jill Salerno, Ms. Grunberg was a veteran of the Columbia Memorial Hospital Thrift Shop (and, before that, of a thrift shop that supported the work of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood). ReWraps, begun five years ago, uses its profits to support PS 21, the performance site just north of the village. Ms. Grunberg has had a lifelong fascination with fabric and clothes and, as an artist, has worked with various textile dyeing techniques. She believes that clothing — a subject sometimes trivialized — should be tied to social good, and ReWraps accomplishes those goals not only through the economic support of PS 21 but also by encouraging the recycling and reuse of garments and by providing a source of information within the village concerning other recycling efforts as well as arts venues in the county.

ReWraps, too, gives away clothing. In the store clothes are tagged by color to indicate cost and the levels of discount (based on how long the item has been for sale). Eventually, unsold items are contributed to other community outlets, like the Columbia County Firefighters Association.

ReWraps’ colorful windows, like its website, chathamrewraps.com, speak to Ms. Grunberg’s penchant for the theatrical, which is shared by Johnna Murray — the actor and acting teacher who serves as the manager of the store. So, too, the Second Show Facebook page illustrates the many types of goods that can be donated to it, with the knowledge that the proceeds will stay within, and support the needs of, Columbia County.

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