Feb 23, 2022

Bonnie Clarke, a devoted 25 year volunteer, who is currently assisting The Salvation Army’s Thrift store in Howard County, is meticulous when it comes to selling donated and refurbished items.

“I cannot sell a doll unless it has all parts accompanied with it. One time I spent much of the day looking for this one doll’s missing shoe, and felt overjoyed when I found it around Christmas time,” said Clarke. She also added that they “never sell a game set until we are positive all pieces are in the box. We clean up everything, wash everything and figure out puzzles to make sure all items are intact.”

Clarke volunteers 3-4 times a week, and has her hands in all sorts of duties and responsibilities. Due to her tenure, she is able to manage new and old volunteers with appraising tech and rare antique items with her son William, and ensuring Lego sets are complete before sale.

“My son William is wonderful with computers,” said Clarke. “He helps me identify the price on all sorts of things, even an old Snoopy toy. He initially estimated the doll to be $25.00, and with some thorough research, found that to be accurate. My son has a deep fascination with toys and computers. He also dreams to be an IT guy.”

Bonnie also noted that the thrift store had devoted volunteers who double check that all Lego pieces are intact in the box. There have been several instances where volunteers would replace missing pieces, out of pocket, from a Lego set just to make sure the customer or even a client doesn’t leave unsatisfied.

Outside of her duties, she assists customers in what’s best for home school education. As a former home school parent, she offers the best advice on books and supplemental material for students.

What motivates Clarke in volunteering is that the people who work there “love the lord.” And she loves to share the lord with customers by adding them on prayer lists. If she is on the floor, she helps customers with finding the best items at a great discount. One instance, she met a mother who had no money, and she assisted her with getting everything she needed for her baby.

Clarke is a mother and a new grandmother to a little one. Helping other moms is something she likes to do. She also developed lifelong friendships with fellow volunteers. “It’s always fun volunteering here and we all laugh so much.”

There have been several occasions, when Clarke puts a game-related item, or a toy related item on sale, the following day the store would attract an abundance of donations of that item.

“We also say God has a weird sense of humor too.”

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