Customers got more than they bargained for while shopping at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store at 2750 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. in Long Beach on Aug. 13 during a Customer Appreciation Day free-lunch event.
Customers received a 25-percent discount on items all day long while a free-taco cart was provided for lunch. In addition, members of The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles recognized the West East Side Community Association (WESCA) for community clean-ups in the area.
Also in attendance were representatives from the offices of State Sen. Ricardo Lara and 4th District Councilmember Patrick O’Donnell, who recognized WESCA for its efforts as well. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia was invited but was unable to attend.
According to the organization’s website, proceeds from sales go to help the “needy become self-sufficient by providing emotional and financial support, food, clothing, furniture, appliances, housing,” connecting disadvantaged individuals to resources in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
David Fields, executive director of The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles, said the Catholic nonprofit organized the event in order to shine a light on the many services it helps to provide in hopes of collaborating with other groups in the area.
Fields said the organization, which has about 2,500 volunteers, has helped close to 60 people get off Skid Row in Los Angeles by helping to provide them with housing. The organization also provides a ranch camp for about 1,200 children.
“We want to be a part of the community here,” Fields said. “We really want to spread the word that we are more than just a thrift store.”
At the event, Long Beach resident Marie Alvarez said she was pleasantly surprised to receive a discount on housing products and clothes, which were already discounted.
“I like the fact that they help other people,” she said. “And it saves me money.”