Part of a series about the charitable reuse centres operating in Halton Region.
Waste audits have shown 7% of the materials found in Halton’s residential garbage stream are textile materials that could be salvaged through reuse centres. This number may not seem like a lot, but if each of the more than 180,000 households in Halton were to reduce their garbage by 7%, it could significantly extend the lifespan of our landfill!
The Upper Credit Humane Society Thrift Shop, which is operated by the Upper Credit Humane Society, is a not-for-profit organization in Georgetown dedicated to supporting the initiatives of its Humane Society by raising funds and awareness.
I had the opportunity to meet with Wendy Jones, who is one of the lead volunteers at the thrift shop, to discuss the operations at the thrift shop and how it benefits the humane society.
LP: Tell me a bit about the Upper Credit Humane Society.
WJ: The Upper Credit Humane Society is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to providing medical treatment and loving care to pets while they are in search of a new home. Animals that arrive at the shelter are either strays or surrendered. It is our policy to ensure animals are in the best health they can be prior to being offered for adoption. We ensure all pets are spayed/neutered, have all of their shots, and are micro-chiped. It is an unfortunate reality that some pets arrive at the humane society requiring much more attention. We ensure that any illnesses are fixed and surgeries are completed prior to adoption.
Our facility is quite small; we have room for 12 dogs, as well as two cat rooms, and an intake room where we assess our newcomers.
The Humane Society runs solely off of funds raised through various donations, fundraisers and events, and profits earned from the Thrift Shop.
LP: How many animals would you say come through the shelter annually? How many are adopted each year?
WJ: In 2013, 355 pets were adopted from the Upper Credit Humane Society! Our adoption process is quite thorough. Residents who are interested in adopting a pet fill out an application and undergo an interview process. They then have a ‘meet and greet’ with the pet they are interested in adopting. We ask that the whole family comes to the meet and greet, and any other household pets come as well. It is sad, but many of these animals have undergone a great deal of stress and pain prior to arriving at our shelter, so we are very thorough with prospective families to ensure that they and the pet in question are a good match for each other.
LP: When did the reuse program start?
WJ: The reuse program began seven years ago in an effort to raise funds to help maintain and operate the Upper Credit Humane Society. Originally, the reuse centre operated out of the shelter in Erin but moved to our current location in Georgetown shortly after, as we needed more room for the animals.
The reuse program has received an overwhelming amount of support from the community. The reuse centre is run solely by volunteers, who have put a great deal of work into ensuring the shop runs smoothly.
LP: What kind of materials do you accept?
WJ: We accept books, games, puzzles, clothes, household items, pottery, and even furniture! Our store is rather small, but if we can fit donated items that are in good condition, then we fit it. If residents are ever curious about whether we accept certain items for donation, they can always call us prior to coming by.
LP: Do you ever receive materials that the Thrift Shop doesn’t need? If so, what happens with those materials?
WJ: Yes, we do sometimes receive materials that we cannot resell, but we do our best to ensure that it can be reused. We forward any items that we cannot accept to other local reuse centres who do accept them. We ensure that very little goes to waste.
LP: How are the materials processed when donated?
WJ: When donations are brought to the Upper Credit Humane Society, everything is weighed and recorded, then sorted, appraised, and brought out into the store. We occasionally receive specialty items. These items are placed into our auction which residents have the opportunity to bid on. It is a great way to showcase some of the gems that come into our store, and a fun way to engage our shoppers!
LP: How does the reuse program benefit the humane society?
WJ: All of the proceeds from the thrift shop aid in covering the operating expenses of the Upper Credit Humane Society. The funds help cover utility bills, staff wages at the shelter, and animal control. The proceeds also help keep the animals fed and healthy. This may involve specialty diets, micro-chipping, or surgeries. The reuse program plays a large factor in the successful operation of our humane society.
LP: How can residents get involved or help?
WJ: Donations are always greatly appreciated — they are the foundation of our shop! Residents can also support our initiatives by shopping at the thrift shop.
A great way for residents to get involved is to volunteer! We are always looking for friendly people to join our team here at the thrift shop, and at the humane society itself. There are a lot of opportunities; we are always looking for helping hands.
We have a number of events that we host to raise awareness and support for our efforts at the humane society.