10 year anniversary remarks

Hello friends, Ten years ago this month, I applied to the IRS for an FEIN number and filed with the State of MI to start Recycled Treasures. I found space here in this building and thanks to Acts29’s generosity with really low rent, and thanks to Keith Collet for donating a truck, by July we had our 501c3 from the IRS and our space was already full of donations.

It is hard to believe that Recycled Treasures has been serving this community for 10 years. We have filled referrals from area agencies helping families and individuals get back on their feet after an emergency. We have given away all the donated mattresses and appliances and tried to find beds for kids who did not have one of their own.

Recycled Treasures has become a vital part of this community, a place to find a coffee pot or sheets or a pair of shoes…. A place where artists can find picture frames or supplies … where moms and dads can find inexpensive gifts and decorations at Christmas time or dressers and couches low cost and new immigrant families can find what they need to set up their new home.

As some of you know, we outgrew our space years ago and have been looking for a new home. We have lived with uneven floors, a leaky roof, no ventilation and no windows on the street… and the list goes on…

I had hoped to announce tonight that we were starting a crowd funding campaign to purchase a building we found just 8 short blocks north of here. It was originally a Packard Dealership and is larger with a better layout and A/C in offices and room to offer more volunteer opportunities and space for our REDO Studio to reopen with community recycled art classes. We applied with Patronicity to get a crowd funding match with no luck. We have approached foundations for help with no luck so far.

But we are not giving up that easy! We started with nothing, stayed open on a shoe string budget and do not give up that easily. We will continue to ask for help from foundations, and hold fundraisers to come up with the money we need for a down payment.

How many of you have bought a new mattress in the past 10 years? Now imagine you are a low income family that lost their home in the ’08 crash and are finally starting over. For a family of four – the cost of replacing mattresses for your family would be equivalent to your first month’s rent and security deposit.

At our new building we want to concentrate on helping folks with mattresses. The table cloths tonight are sheets, the recycled copper wire on the center pieces and napkin holders represent bed springs. Recycled Treasures is hoping to begin to sell new mattresses to the public cheaper than anywhere else to try and help those who are starting over. This will be a win/win – mattresses people can afford and revenue for our building fund.

I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight and celebrating with us. I want to thank my board members, please stand up, who have worked hard to make this night happen and my pick-up and delivery team, Nate and Bryan for doing the heavy lifting and all of our wonderful volunteers that help out keeping store looking nice. I want to thank all the community members who bring items every day that they are not using and care about their neighbors. And of course my husband who supports his crazy wife everyday… and has made it possible for us to help hundreds of families with furniture over the past 10 years.

I want to end by recognizing Leslie Bilan who has volunteered her time for the last five years, running the store, listing books on half.com and high end items on Ebay. Thank you Leslie!

And I want to introduce Jill Bilan who has been hired as our store manager and has done a wonderful job of organizing the shop floor, dealing with customers and freed me up to work on fundraising for our new building.

See you next year!

Catrina Stackpoole, MSW

Recycled Treasures ED