A new thrift store for building materials just opened its doors in Soldotna thanks to a local women-led group that raises money throughout the year for community projects.
100+ Women Who Care meets four times a year, and at each meeting, three randomly selected members make a pitch for a locally based nonprofit about why it deserves the group’s donations. After the pitches are made, every member votes on which project should get the funds. Once a winner is determined, every member cuts a check to that organization for $100 each.
Last quarter the recipient of the donations was BuildUp, Inc., a nonprofit started earlier this year by a group of women aiming to reduce the amount of functional building material that ends up in the landfill. Local contractors and residents can donate their leftover building materials to BuildUp rather than taking it all to the dump, and the materials are resold at a heavily discounted price.
“My husband is a contractor, and I’ve personally seen the waste that goes to the landfill,” Amy Anderson, one of the founders and president of BuildUp, Inc., said Thursday. “I live in Kasilof so I’ve watched the mountain grow every day I come to town, and I needed to do something about it. So a group of people got together and we started a nonprofit. BuildUp is run all volunteer at this point. All proceeds right now go to rent, and some day the rest of the proceeds will go back to other nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity or the Food Bank.”
For this quarter, women from around the peninsula gathered at the new location of BuildUp, Inc. on the Sterling Highway between Soldotna and Sterling to see exactly where their money had gone and to decide what organization would be receiving their donations this time. Anderson said that the money they received from the 100+ Women Who Care was used to acquire the physical location for the store, which opened on Aug. 21.
The location is the size of a small hardware store and is already full of materials like wall brackets, outlet covers, plumbing fixtures and Sheetrock.
“We take cut Sheetrock. We take cut lumber. We take doors, windows, lights, you name it,” Anderson said. The only materials they won’t accept are things that are nonfunctional or excessively dirty.
Thursday night, the winning nonprofit was Alaska Legal Services. Local lawyer Jennifer Joanis described to the group the work that the nonprofit does to provide free legal services to Alaskans, especially in family law and civil cases.
Thirty women attended the third-quarter meeting, with each writing a $100 check and Joanis walking away with $3,000 to give to Alaska Legal Services, Tami Murray, who founded the local chapter of 100+ Women Who Care, said Friday. Murray added that the group currently has 90 active members, so the nonprofit can expect to receive $9,000 for this quarter.
Since the group started two years ago, Murray said they have donated $72,000 to nonprofits around the peninsula. The fourth-quarter meeting is scheduled for Dec. 17. Murray hopes the group can surpass $90,000 in total donations by the end of the year.
BuildUP is located at 42365 Sterling Highway and is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday through Saturday. Donations can be arranged Monday through Wednesday by calling Anderson at 907-598-4102.
Learn more about BuildUP by visiting their page on loc8nearme.com.
Learn more about Alaska Legal Services Corporation at alsc-law.org.