Parksville charity that runs a large thrift store marks 50th anniversary


WATCH: A charity on Central Vancouver Island is celebrating a significant milestone. The Society of Organized Services District 69 marked its 50th anniversary on Sunday. The society helps those who need a hand up and has grown during its decades of service. Kendall Hanson reports.

If you’ve ever gone shopping in Parksville, you’ve probably visited the SOS thrift store.

It was closed Sunday but many of its employees are working to get its shelves ready for Monday morning.

At 18,000 square feet, those who operate it boast it’s the largest thrift store on Vancouver Island.

The profits have always gone towards helping those in need in the area.

“It does provide us with over 80 per cent of our funding,” said Susanna Newton, the society’s executive director. “We’re very fortunate that our founding members a long time ago decided we need a secure funding base and obviously the community supports that funding base.”

On Sunday, the charity that operates the thrift store celebrated its 50th anniversary.

District 69 Society of Organized Services (SOS) opened a much smaller thrift store back in 1968.

One of its founding members, who was a teacher in School District 69 saw the need in her classroom.

“Children were coming to school without breakfast and their clothes that sort of thing tells the story,” said Edith Chamberlayne.

SOS organizers say the society has grown thanks to many volunteers. They now have 350 volunteers.

The current thrift store was built 15 years ago and the charity also has 65 employees.

“Oh I’m so proud of it that I nearly burst,” said Chamberlayne.

A donated sculpture was unveiled to help mark the anniversary.

“It’s very special,” said Newton about reaching the milestone. “It’s very exciting and we’ve been planning this for a long time so finally the day is here.”

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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