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Thrifting at the mall

Giving Tree staff welcoming customers into the store.
Giving Tree staff welcoming customers into the store.
Nicole Davis

An unlikely store has opened up in Dutch Square Mall. On Saturday, August 2, Giving Tree opened their doors for the first time. Unlike the many commercial stores already in the mall, Giving Tree is a thrift store that will partner with local charities to help the community. Each week the store will donate fifty percent of its sales to a partnered charity. The charity just has to help collect and sort through gently used items to sell in the store. The more goods a charity collects, and the better condition of the items means more money that will go back to the charity. Some charities that have already partnered with Giving Tree include the Wounded Warrior Project, Oliver Gospel Mission, Give Kids the World, Feeding America, and Coats for Kids.

Saturday’s event was a great start to the work that Giving Tree hopes to accomplish in the community. Blue Choice HealthPlan of South Carolina Medicaid sponsored a Back to School Bash as part of Giving Tree’s grand opening. They gave out 500 back packs to students and parents who attended the event. Representatives from Walgreen's showed their support by doing free blood pressure screenings and University of South Carolina representatives were present to promote Project Fit, a program designed to help African American youth ages 11-16 learn healthy lifestyle habits.

However, it was not all work and health related. There was a face painting table set up by Emeralds’ Artistry for the kids, free popcorn, and Cocky, the Mascot for University of South Carolina, showed his support by dancing and welcoming everyone who came in to the store.

Giving Tree is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They are located on 421 Bush River Rd., inside Dutch Square Mall. Giving Tree’s mission is to give back to the community by partnering with charities in Columbia and donating store proceeds to help their causes. If you would like to make a donation to Giving Tree, they accept clothing for all ages, furniture, housewares, toys, and various forms of media such as DVDs, books, and magazines. You can bring your donation to the store, or call and have someone come and pick up your donation.