North Idaho

Coeur d'Alene Thrift Store Helps Local Schools

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - If you're a thrift store junkie, you know the thrill of the hunt. At one Coeur d'Alene Thrift Store grabbing a hidden treasure has another perk by helping educate a local kid.

Every year, teachers and parents dig into their own pockets to pay for school supplies. Simple items like colored pencils, rulers and projector bulbs aren't always in the school budget. That's where the Coeur d'Alene Exchange Thrift Store comes in.

"We've gotten quite a few donations already from the school and it's going to a great cause," thrift store owner Debbie Thompson said out at her mobile donation truck.

Coeur d'Alene Thrift Store Helps Local Schools

On Monday, Thompson sat outside of her donation truck at Hayden Meadows Elementary School. Parents dropping off their kids knew that the next stop would be to donate to Coeur d'Alene Exchange.

Thompson started the business a year ago with her family. The idea for the thrift store to benefit schools came from one of her seven children, an 18-year-old who grew up in the Coeur d'Alene School District.

"He said 'mom, the teachers are just hurting so bad, how about the schools' and that's where actually our idea happened," Thompson said.

The donations in the mobile truck will end up at the brick-and-mortar store along 4th street in Downtown Coeur d'Alene. Each item is marked with a price and a number. The number represents a participating Coeur d'Alene school so that when the item is sold a portion of that profit can go directly to that school.

Hayden Meadows PTA member Carrie White says it was easy to sign on to a program like the Coeur d'Alene Exchange.

"We've received over $2,000 so far," White exclaimed.

The money goes to classrooms, so teachers can provide their kids with supplies for education. Some of the money has also been set aside in a growing fund to start an eReader program at Hayden Meadows.

To date, the Coeur d'Alene Exchange Thrift Store has written check to 12 schools totaling $20,000.

If that's not enough, Thompson also has a Spare Change program. A patron at the thrift store can opt to donate spare change from a transaction rather than pocket it. When enough is saved up, a $50 Staples gift card is purchased and given to a nominated teacher. They've given out $1,400 in gift cards so far.

"It feels really great to be a part of that and helping the school system, I have seven children and so I know how important education is and I know that it's making a big difference," Thompson said.

You can donate to or visit the Coeur d'Alene Exchange at 849 North 4th Street.