King’s Things, a non-profit organization, was founded by five of the churches in Swedesboro in 1983 with the mission “To feed and clothe the needy”. While its primary focus is centered on the community needs of Swedesboro, Logan Township, East Greenwich Township, Greenwich Township, Woolwich Township and South Harrison Township, it will help out if called upon elsewhere in the Gloucester Country area. In fact it is listed on the Gloucester Country website as one of the counties “Emergency Food Pantries”.
Gerry Siglow, the Director of Kings Things, proudly states, “What sets King’s Things apart from other charitable organizations is that it is 100 percent staffed by volunteers. There is absolutely no one involved with the organization that receives wages, or other compensation of any kind for their volunteer service. In fact unlike other charities there is a return in excess of 40 percent of every dollar that goes back to the local community.” Siglow also stressed that there is always a need for more volunteers in the furniture store, thrift store and food pantry so if you can spare a few hours of your time a week they’ll put you to work performing tasks ranging from food distribution, customer service, general housekeeping duties, social media advertising, store management, handyman, financial reporting and donation pick-up services.
While King’s Things does not provide delivery service, it is in need of independent contractors who are willing to deliver and pick-up items for a reasonable fee when requested by the customer.
In order to accomplish its mission, the organization runs a thrift store and a separate furniture store which fund its Food Pantry as well as other community outreach programs, including its’ annual Thanksgiving Voucher program and Christmas Giving Program. In fact about 90 percent of the funding for the organization comes from what the thrift and furniture stores bring in, with the remaining 10 percent coming from personal monetary donations.
Merchandise sold in both stores is totally based upon donations received from the surrounding community. Items that can be donated include gently used clothes and shoes, household items, non-perishable foods, toys, strollers, lamps, pictures, books, DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, holiday decorations, clean furniture, tables, chairs, couches, bookcases, sewing machines that work, musical instruments and electronics in working condition.
If you are unable to bring large items to the shop then arrangements can always be made to pick up the furniture or other large quantities of donations at no cost to you. Also, monetary donations are always welcome which can be used to provide milk and fresh vegetables.
During the summer months fresh vegetables grown by some of our local farmers and in personal home or community gardens are also a welcome surprise. However there are some restrictions as to what can be accepted for donation such as used mattresses and box springs, cribs that do not comply with the December 15, 2010 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards, non-flat screen televisions, VHS or cassette tapes, large appliances, pianos, or badly stained or soiled furniture and clothing.
Remember that donations of any kind, cash or non-cash, are tax deductable as King’s Things is a tax exempt organization eligible to receive tax-deductable charitable contributions. Their EIN number as listed on the IRS website for Exempt Organizations is 22-2452778. So don’t forget to ask for a receipt when you make that donation.
Situated in two buildings on King’s Highway in the heart of downtown Swedesboro, the food pantry, thrift store and furniture store helps to feed over 2,000 families a year as well as providing clothing, furniture, housing and utility assistance and other general help where needed. With no one in the organization receiving wages its overhead is limited primarily to rent and utilities, so 100 percent of what’s left over goes to the bottom line to fund the food pantry and community outreach programs.
When most people think of “Kings Things” they generally only think of its Thrift Store and Food Pantry on the corner of King’s Highway and Franklin Street. But a little known gem that is slowly gaining recognition is its “Furniture Store” located on Kings Highway just five stores down from the Thrift Store.
The furniture store, which has been in existence for only a little over two years is now under the direction of two dedicated volunteer co-managers, Faye Botto and Barb Eckman. This dedicated duo has taken a cluttered and unorganized store and staged it so beautifully that positive feedback is constantly being received from its’ customers.
“One repeat customer even referred to it as a boutique compared to how it previously looked,” said Botto, “but I wouldn’t go that far. What we have done is to simply better display the furniture into room like settings or groupings highlighted by lamps, pictures and other chachkies that are currently in the inventory. Since we are totally dependent on donations the store is constantly being reorganized based upon the new inventory”. Siglow added, “Primarily through Barb and Faye’s efforts the sales at the furniture store have steadily increased. In fact year-to-date sales are up 38 percent over last year at this time”.
If you like to shop then pay a visit to both the furniture and thrift stores as you never know what you might find and the items change from week-to-week depending on the donations received. Inventory has been comprised of quality items ranging from Lennox vases, Willow Tree Angels, Depression glass, vintage vinyl albums, brand new IZOD shirts still in the plastic, American made furniture from Lane and Lazy Boy, and other quality furniture items, including the occasional antique or vintage collectable piece. Some of the furniture received is in need of some tender loving care and several shoppers that constantly visit the store are looking for these types of items so that they can lovingly repurpose them. “So if you are creative you can certainly pick up an old piece of furniture that can be reinvented into something unique for very little cost,” said Eckman. “Always remember, some ones junk is another person’s treasure. I recall overhearing one person that was in the process of donating some items to the Thrift Store saying she glanced at a rack of clothes that contained many pairs of jeans and to her surprise there were two pair of barely used Lucky Brand designer jeans in her size that she knew sells for over $150 a pair in quality stores like Macy’s and Lord & Taylor. She quickly snatched them off the rack and paid the one dollar a pair. So if you’re a savvy shopper you never know what trendy and stylish items you just might find.”
Both the Kings’ Things Thrift shop and the Furniture Store have separate Facebook pages that you can visit for more information and to see items currently in their inventory. The address of the two Facebook pages are: Thrift Store : https://www.facebook.com/KingsThingsSwedesboro; Furniture Store: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kings-Things-Furniture Store/452895418185801
If you are interested in making a donation, or volunteering some of your time then please contact the Furniture Store at (856) 975-6557 or the Thrift Store at (856) 467-1796.
As mentioned earlier in the article, independent contractors that can perform pick-up and delivery services at a reasonable price are always needed. Remember, your support can really make a difference.