chvnradio.com

Now Playing What just played?

THE COLOR

ONE SURE THING

Listen Live

Thrift shop stores in Manitoba are putting their fate in the hands of the next generation. 

Traditionally, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) thrift stores have relied on retired seniors with Mennonite backgrounds to fill the majority of their volunteer base. But with an ageing population and personal lives becoming increasingly busy, some stores are losing their regular volunteers.

An MCC thrift shop manager, Kevin Hamm, says the company will eventually have to address this change in pace.

"In the case of MCC thrift shops and many others, we were founded by volunteers, and continue to be staffed mostly by volunteers, and really it's not a viable operation without it being so," Hamm said.

For example, the shop in Portage la Prairie has seen an increase in paid workers over the years, he said.

"I think it's something that in many ways we can't avoid because the volunteer base that we have now is, of course, ageing, as we understand," he said. "It's a very different mindset and availability that used to be."

At 108 locations across North America, thousands of volunteers help sort and price items, serve customers, and contribute to creative projects such as recycling fabric into blankets, according to MCC's website.

Most retired seniors are now more involved with family care and their grandchildren than in the past, Hamm said, which has made it difficult for them to find time in their schedules to volunteer.

"There's a much greater need for people's time and it used to be that a lot of the people who started working as volunteers at MCC thrift shops could identify spare time and didn't feel like they needed to fill their time. But now there's a lot of needs with their families, there's a lot of sporting events that are going on, much more so than when they were growing up - a lot of things that are happening that seem to fill time," Hamm said.

While people hesitate to commit regularly, Hamm says microvolunteering is becoming popular, as it allows for generally short and easy low-commitment periods of work.

"We're trying to reach out and help people understand that there are ways to do volunteering without the big commitment," he said.

As the traditional volunteer demographic gradually moves on, Hamm says he has seen many newcomers to Canada, young people, and non-church-goers take their spots.

"We've found over the years that a good number of our volunteers are coming from no church affiliation whatsoever, but they're enthusiastic about the work that MCC thrift shops do and they want to be a part of it, and they buy into the point that they're on board with us. They don't quite understand the bigger picture necessarily as far as our Christian mission, but they're totally supportive of being part of what we're doing, and they're an essential part of our work," Hamm said.

As the future of the volunteer base falls into the hands of a new generation, Hamm says the work done by current volunteers is something of great value.

"We see the volunteers who have been with us for 30, 40 years and there aren't replacements for them. Yes, there are people who can come in and do some of it but ... not to the same level of commitment," he said.

Money from sales at MCC thrift stores is used locally and globally to support the relief work done by the organization.

Share this story!

Operation Red Nose calls for volunteers

A volunteer-run free ride service is marking 23 years of getting Winnipeggers home safely…

A warm heart on a cold day: Winnipeg remembers

The cold weather didn't stop a crowd from taking in a Remembrance Day service at Vimy…

Royal Winnipeg Rifles unveil Legacy Stone Project

Western Canada's oldest regiment celebrated its 135th anniversary by unveiling a new…

Pastor Rick Warren undergoes emergency surgery

Megachurch pastor and best selling Christian author Rick Warren was rushed to hospital on…

Manitoba First Nations to get accurate highway signage

Improved directional and community boundary signage is coming for First Nations along…

Bowman bets on Blue

The Mayors of Winnipeg and Regina have placed a wager on Sunday's West Division…

Ice musician to play in Winnipeg Warming Hut pavilion

Music from the Red River itself will be heard at The Forks this winter.

Bowman taps rookie councillor for Police Board Chair

Pending the results of a council vote next week, a rookie city councillor will be the new…

Missing man last seen a week ago

The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) is requesting the public’s assistance in locating…

Joni Eareckson Tada speaks out in heartbreak over tragic shooting

Well known Christian speaker and author Joni Eareckson Tada is urging others to prayer…

Fighting human trafficking through hiking

Sylvia St Cyr, from Niverville, drove to the Grand Canyon along with her family to…

An interview with an 'atheist pastor'

Reverend Gretta Vosper is an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada. She's also…

What's open and what's not this Remembrance Day

Not sure what errands you can run or activities you can take in Sunday? Here is a list of…

Bitterly cold wind chills ahead

Winter is sweeping into southern Manitoba in full force over the Remembrance Day weekend.

Update: 16-year-old suspect facing 31 charges in connection to Bannerman standoff

Winnipeg Police say the 16-year-old boy who allegedly shot at police officers is facing a…

Students lead National Aboriginal Veterans Day ceremony at Neeginan Centre

November 8th is National Aboriginal Veterans Day.

'Atheist pastor' will continue to minister in United Church

A Toronto United Church minister that identifies as an atheist will remain ordained and…

Bear Clan seeking help after funding falls through

The Bear Clan Patrol’s future is unknown due to a lack of funding, but they're hoping…

Missing Steinbach teen believed to be in Winnipeg

The Steinbach RCMP are looking for missing teen. They say she is at risk of being…

WAG to launch Winnipeg Indigenous Biennial

The Winnipeg Art Gallery has entered a partnership that will ensure Indigenous art from…