GIVING BACK: After 30 years, Placid’s thrift shop eyes expansion
LAKE PLACID — Linda Young sat among secondhand treasures Tuesday, Nov. 29 in the Helping Hands Thrift Shop. Books, shoes, clothes, backpacks and an assortment of odds and ends covered every surface and hung on every hook. It’s a physical representation of this community’s spirit of giving.
That spirit has become so strong, Young is looking to expand the thrift shop.
Young opened up the Helping Hands Thrift Shop George & Bliss Lane in 1992. She’d recently helped to start the Ecumenical Food Pantry at St. Agnes Church, and she noticed that local churches weren’t just fielding food donations — they were “inundated” with bags of clothing and other secondhand items people had donated.
“Something had to be done,” she said. “It doesn’t end with giving food. It’s 365 days a year.”
Young manages the Helping Hands shop, but her efforts extend far beyond it. She received Lake Placid’s Volunteer of the Year award this year for her decades of dedication to serving the community’s needs. She directs the Ecumenical Charities program and coordinates a team of volunteers, and she works with students at the Lake Placid Elementary School. This past June, Young told the News that the energy she puts into volunteering is about more than the cans of peas and the clothing drives.
“What sticks with me is the fact that we’re serving,” she said. “I see each day, a new challenge. I’m up to that challenge, never knowing what that challenge is, but going into the challenge and trying to help with it.”
Helping Hands future
The thrift store and the food pantry make up the Ecumenical Charities program. All the thrift store’s profits are poured into the food pantry, according to Young, where food and assistance are then spread throughout the community. And 30 years later, the shop is still there, just off the shore of Lake Placid lake. But Young said she’s “surveying the community” for a place to expand the shop and start a new chapter of giving.
Young doesn’t have specific plans for the expansion yet, but her main goal is to better serve the community with the transition. As Lake Placid’s only thrift shop, Young said, Helping Hands is an important resource — not just for people who need items at a reasonable price, but for people looking for somewhere to donate items they no longer need. She said locals and people just moving to town often need bigger items like furniture, and she’d like to accept those types of donations. But bulkier items can’t fit in the current shop, which is composed of a few small rooms.
Young envisions a future where the food pantry and the thrift shop exist together in one building, along with an area for furniture and possibly a meeting room to host speakers. She wants to “go beyond” just the clothing.
“It won’t be massive, but it will be just what this charity program needs — what the community needs,” she said.
As the thrift shop moves into a new era, Young said the community can support Helping Hands by shopping and donating. And as the holidays approach, it’s a great place to find creative and interesting gifts for family and friends.
Young also welcomes volunteers, as well as people who need a little bit of help through the holidays, to give her a call at 518-523-9620 to see how they can give or receive help through the Ecumenical Charities program.
“Where there’s a need, it’s provided,” Young said.
And hopefully, with a little help from community volunteers and donations, the Helping Hands Thrift Shop can go on to serve this village for another 30 years — or more.