(WEST OCEAN CITY, Md.) – The Worcester County Humane Society is literally setting up shop in West Ocean City for its new thrift store, which is set to open next month.
“It’s in the process of a light renovation refresh, which will include a painting of the walls and floors, setting up the area with our donated items, shelving will come in, but for now we’re in the painting phase,” said Mary Martinez, WCHS Board Member and future store manager.
The new thrift store, which is expected to open by the end of April, is located off Sunset Ave. in the Sunset Square plaza where ‘New Wave’ used to be. Martinez says it will help support the shelter, which currently relies on donations and annual fundraisers to cover operational expenses.
"We’re looking for ways to make ourselves more self-sufficient, not always just asking for donations. Our fundraisers are great, but we need more,” explained Martinez. "We’re a nonprofit. We do get wonderful donations from the community and other areas, but still, bills add up… utilities, vet bills…I think we paid over $150,000 dollars in vet bills last year,” said Martinez. “Not to mention food, litter, medicine, everything that it takes to house and care for the animals."
Martinez says every year it costs the shelter nearly $1,900 to house just one animal. Adoption fees only cover a small portion of that.
"We have probably over 150 cats and usually up to 25 dogs at any one time, so do the math and you’ll understand,” said Martinez.
In order to make the thrift store complete, Martinez says they’ll need the community’s help.
"We are definitely going to need donations. As of April 2, that is my goal to be able to start taking donations of your gently used items... clothing, the furniture, the books, house goods, pet items,” said Martinez. “Without donations, we will not have a store."
…And without a store, that’s less help for the animals who need it most.
“The town of Ocean City does help us, but the state of Maryland to my knowledge does not,” explained Martinez. “Worcester County does not help us, although we have asked them in the past.”
Martinez says more volunteers are needed to help paint and set up shop. She says they’re also looking for volunteers to help run the store on a daily basis, four days a week once it opens. Those who are interested can contact Martinez directly at 410-382-2661.