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St. Vincent de Paul food pantry thriving despite thrift store closure

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St. Vincent de Paul in Sharpsburg has closed its thrift store but donations are still being taken at the food pantry.

Food assistance offered by St. Vincent de Paul in Sharpsburg will continue despite the recent closure of the borough-based thrift store.

BJ George, who oversees the food pantry at St. Mary Church, said food and monetary donations have been streaming in despite the closing of the popular Main Street donation store two months ago.

“We have not seen any changes, and we welcome any donations that people would like to make,” George said.

Pantry distributions will continue on the third Thursday of each month. Anyone who needs assistance should make an appointment prior to pantry day for services.

Ricardo Luckow, executive director at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, said despite its popularity, the thrift store had experienced a decline in sales for quite some time. Spring renovations weren’t enough to spur an increase in sales profits, he said.

“We had hoped that the renovations would provide a change in palette, process and layout, which in turn would boost sales,” Luckow said. “As it turned out, sales did not increase and we could no longer sustain operating losses.”

There are no current plans to open another store in the Sharpsburg area or any nearby neighborhoods.

The store appeared to be a busy spot for people donating clothes, furniture and household items. Those people can still drop off items at the group’s five other Pittsburgh area locations, including Butler, Castle Shannon, Swissvale, Monroeville and Coraopolis.

There are also about 100 clothing donation bins scattered throughout Allegheny County, Luckow said.

During 2017, St. Vincent de Paul assisted more than 104,000 people with food, housing, transportation, furniture, utilities and everyday essentials.

Because of the thrift store closing, George accepts food donations only — household items, furniture and clothing are no longer taken.

Furniture can be picked up for a fee by calling 412-321-1071 ext. 1.

For food pantry services, call 412-781-2866.

“We want to thank the Sharpsburg community for being great neighbors over the years, and we lament the loss of the convenience our store provided for so many residents,” Luckow said.

For more on St. Vincent de Paul locations, visit svdppitt.org

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, [email protected] or via Twitter @tawnyatrib.

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