Kindness adds value to work at Edmond thrift store

Cheerful attitudes abound at Edmond's Employment And Residential Centers donation center and thrift store.
by Bryan Painter Published: December 22, 2012

The people

Once inside the open fence gate at the EARC donation center, a shopper's eyes can bounce around from the tan office chair, to an assortment of crutches, to the seashell-adorned picture frame to bags of golf clubs.

Work for Jarrett means not only supervising, but selecting what items go to which of EARC's three locations.

“The people who drop off stuff like clothes, some will wash them and iron them and then bring them in,” Jarrett said.

“People will take them to the cleaners and then bring them in. Donations are great because it's from the heart.”

Within minutes, a red Volvo pulls through that gate. Jarrett walks to the car and asks the driver how she's doing.

“Fine,” she replies as she opens the back of the car to reveal some furniture she had brought to donate.

He unloaded it and thanked her.

The items are plentiful, but it becomes obvious that Jarrett is right: it's the people who make the difference.

Oliver, who was wearing a Santa hat recently while loading a truck, said he not only enjoys working at EARC, he likes laughing or causing others to do so.

About that time, Oliver looked over and spoke loudly enough for Jarrett to hear him.

“He needs to shave his sideburns,” Oliver said and grinned.

Jarrett doubled over laughing.

“These guys work hard and they hardly ever complain, they're always smiling,” Jarrett said. “They've got so much love for people. It's just great working with them, and being around those who donate.”

The latter are also encouraged to enjoy themselves. Jarrett has one particular approach that often makes that possible.

“When they first come up, especially if they're driving a real nice car, a Mercedes or something,” he said, “I go, ‘Ma'am are you donating your vehicle?' “That'll get a smile almost every time.”

And then he'll unload what they really brought to donate.

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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To learn more

For more information about Employment And Residential Centers, go to www.EARCinc.org or call 341-7132.

The most important thing on earth I think is another human being. I'd do anything for these guys.”

Mark Jarrett,
Dock supervisor and job coach

for Employment And Residential Centers

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