Cape Cod thrift shop creates community for volunteers, supports cancer patients

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SANDWICH – Cape Cod’s oldest thrift store has a new home and new life in Sandwich, where shoppers are finding treasures that support a good cause.

Supporting cancer patients

When most people step inside the Cape Cancer Thrift Shop, they are surprised.

“People come in and they say, is this a thrift shop? And we say yes, and they say, but it’s so clean and bright,” said volunteer Ellen Poluzzi.

It’s bright, airy and full of beautiful items that are well cared for and creatively displayed. Everything from lovely glassware, china, teacups, artwork, furniture and books can be found at a bargain. Money from every purchase is donated to Dana Farber and Cape Wellness Collaborative to support the care of cancer patients.

“The people that shop can’t believe how reasonable things are and how many different types of things we have in the store,” said Poluzzi. “I think they just feel so good they know that the money is going to somewhere like Dana Farber where they do so much good for cancer patients.”

Every single piece for sale is donated from community members. People choose to donate their precious items here because they are taken care of and go to a good cause.

“A woman last year drove all the way down from Boston with a set of Tiffany dishes. We were the only place she would give it to,” said volunteer, Diane St. Ours. “They’re helping not only the community, but in memory of their family or friends who have had cancer.”

Special community that continues to grow

All of the workers at Cape Cancer Thrift Shop are volunteers and many of them are cancer survivors themselves, like Diane St. Ours.

“I honestly credit Dana Farber for saving me because I had a very rare, unusual central nervous system lymphoma,” said St. Ours.

That common experience of navigating cancer has created a special community inside this little shop.

“It’s a way for me to give back and I’m very happy here and then I’m meeting people who are going through similar things,” said St. Ours.

That connection and comraderie is something volunteers can’t get enough of, which is a good thing, because they are busier than ever. It’s the oldest thrift shop on Cape Cod, but they recently relocated from Barnstable to Route 6-A in Sandwich which is boosting their visibility. New customers are walking through the door all the time, happy to shop and support their cause.

“When the store first started it was called the little store that could. It started out very small and has grown and grown and grown and we’re very proud of it and hope that people will stop by and see what we have,” said Poluzzi.

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