What Is a Hospice Thrift Store?

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  • Written By: A.M. Boyle
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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A hospice thrift store is a variety shop that sells donated merchandise. The proceeds from the sales are used to support local community hospice programs. The goods sold are typically donated by the community and resold to others at a discounted price.

Many communities have hospice care programs available. Through hospice care, people who are facing terminal illnesses have the opportunity to receive care at home rather than spend their final days in the cold, impersonal setting of a hospital. To qualify for hospice care, a doctor typically has to certify that a patient’s prognosis is six months or less. In that event, the patient is transported to his or her home, where he or she is made as comfortable as possible through medication and other means, sometimes called palliative care.

Hospice care usually involves a team of doctors, nurses, counselors, and volunteers who not only care for the needs of the patient but also help the family through the process. Most major insurance companies cover some aspects of hospice care, but 100 percent coverage is not usually available. The patients and their families are usually responsible for at least some out-of-pocket costs of hospice care. Some individuals have no insurance coverage at all.


For those families who have limited financial resources, hospice care is offered free of charge. In order to cover the costs involved in providing adequate in-home care to patients who cannot afford it, most hospice programs need to have community support and funding. A hospice thrift store can help in that respect. Through the hospice thrift store, many programs are able to raise funds to provide services free of charge for those patients in need. In addition, having a hospice thrift store in a community also raises awareness of the program, which in turn can help to inspire volunteers willing to help with patient care without compensation.

The goods available in a hospice thrift store vary widely but generally include gently used clothing, small household appliances, and other accessories. Some stores are larger than others and might include other items such as pet supplies, larger appliances, and furniture. Generally, the hospital or organization running the hospice program owns or leases the building housing the thrift shop. The store itself is typically staffed by volunteers so as to reduce the overhead cost of running the business.

For the most part, the items in a hospice thrift store are sold at discount prices, and bargain hunters can usually find outstanding deals. In this regard, the thrift shop also serves a dual purpose for the community. Not only does it help raise funds to support hospice care, but it also provides an avenue for people who are struggling financially to find good-quality clothing and other items at significantly reduced prices.


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Post 3

@Iluviaporos - That can make me feel a bit guilty though. I mean, it's great to look for bargains if you can't really afford to pay full price for something and it's great to recycle items in a thrift store, but when they keep the prices that low I feel like they're missing out on a chance to get more money for the hospice.

My grandfather spent his last few months in a hospice and they are really invaluable places that deserve all the funding they can get.

Post 2

@MrsPramm - I've been in poor countries where those clothes end up and they aren't even given to people. They are just sold like any other good in the marketplace for only marginally less than what they would be paying for locally made clothes.

I don't buy many clothes at the thrift store, to be honest, but I'll often go in to have a look at the books they've got on hand. At the moment a lot of secondhand book stores seem to be almost as expensive as buying a new book. But thrift stores seem to sell books without regard to their value and you can pick up amazing bargains. I once found a near new copy of The Joy of Cooking for only $2. It would cost more like $60 in a secondhand store.

Post 1

If you've got quality clothes or books or toys that are just taking up space at the moment, don't throw them out, donate them to a thrift store. Hospice thrift stores are wonderful, and there are other kinds as well that do similar work.

I know there are some charities that collect clothing to go overseas to developing countries, but it's actually not really a good idea to give to those. The clothes have to be transported, which is polluting, and they can devalue the clothing makers of the countries where they are sent. It's better to just donate to a worthy local cause, where you know the clothes are going to be used for the right reasons.

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