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Thorne: Gifting hope for the holidays

BARRINGTON – The Black Friday shopping madness swept me off my feet a little early this year at House of Hope resale shop.

I’ve never been a Black Friday shopping devotee because the long lines and mall crowds have always seemed pretty intimidating. Yet I understand how the annual tradition can be a togetherness event for many families or groups of friends, and I think that’s neat.

But I’m not trying to start a Black Friday shopping debate by any means. I want to tell you about a neat sale that happens every year, close to home and weeks before the Thanksgiving madness.

The House of Hope Holiday Premiere ran Nov. 6 through Nov. 9, at House of Hope Resale, 200 N. Hough St. This resale shop has been in the Barrington area since 2001, run entirely by volunteers. All year-round proceeds are donated to St. Anne’s Project Hope to help less fortunate community members through crisis, job loss, illness and other challenges.

Since the Project Hope crisis line receives more than 300 calls each month, the Holiday Premiere event not only is a great opportunity to save some cash with holiday decorating, but it’s often an annual mainstay for those in need.

For example, the House of Hope volunteer staff collects toys and housewares year-round, saving specific items to be sold at the Holiday Premiere kickoff. A huge toyland and department store-style layout allows families to gift their children or set a holiday-themed table with a warm meal when they may not have gotten to otherwise.

Like any other holiday bargain sale, shoppers line up outside the storefront up to an hour before Holiday Premiere kickoff and rush inside to have first pick on merchandise, but this is Black Friday-style shopping for a good cause and I can appreciate that.

Even more impressive was the volunteer staff members who spent the weekend before setting up for the big sale, even clocking late hours into Monday and Tuesday nights. This staff tests all donated lights, preparing lit Christmas trees for purchase. I can’t tell you the amount of times my dad would drive back and forth to the hardware store to return faulty lights. If we had bought them at House of Hope, decorating may have been less frustrating.

Although the Holiday Premiere has ended, winter merchandise will continue to be collected and sold throughout the season. Read more on page 7.

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