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Saint-Lazare thrift shop repurposes clothing from donations

A group of volunteers who work at Saint-Lazare's La Source d'Entraide thrift shop are giving the concept of recycling a whole new meaning. As Global's Felicia Parrillo finds out, with them, nothing goes to waste.

La Source d’Entraide sells pretty much everything.

The thrift shop sells clothes, toys and household items, but what some people don’t know is that some of the items sold at the store are made by a few creative volunteers working right upstairs.

On the second floor of the shop, volunteers are busy sewing, cutting and creating.

“I had an idea almost three years ago to start something in affiliation with La Source,” said volunteer Jovette Gagnon.

“They receive many donations, many of the articles cannot be sold for different reasons, if they are slightly damaged and often, we find real treasures that we can recycle.”

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And with recycled items, volunteers insist they can create just about anything.

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They used material from a heavy duty winter coat to make a travel organizer, a flannel shirt to make winter gloves, and they also turned old fur coats into trendy hats with fur pom poms, and key chains.

“One of the reasons were doing this is clearly to throw fewer items away,” said Gagnon. “And often, if the fabric is clean enough, if there’s parts of the fabric that can be cut up and sown up, we use it.”

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Gagnon says many of the items made by the volunteers end up going on sale at the thrift shop, but they also sell in bulk to different local organizations and businesses, at a lower cost.

Either way, all the money made from sales goes back into La Source d’Entraide, which then helps buy food for families in need in the area.

“That’s probably the most important thing,” said volunteer Mary Coatsworth.

“The people we’re helping will probably be glad of the help and it’ll make their lives a little bit better.”