MCC Thrift has been helping people and the planet win all over the world since 1972 when four powerhouse women from Altona, Man. saw a need in their local community and a way to help the world through secondhand goods.
Before the first shops opened, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) shipped gently-used clothes all over the world. With rising shipping costs, the organization decided money would be better spent buying items locally at a fraction of the cost.
After hearing about this change, Linie Friesen, Selma Loewen, Susan Giesbrecht and Sara Stoesz dreamed up the concept of opening a temporary shop with the goal of turning secondhand clothing donations into cash to help others.
Fast forward over 50 years with more than 85 shops in operation across Canada and the United States, MCC Thrift continues to provide relief, development and peace in the name of Christ for people all over the world. That’s winning on a global scale.
Over 50 years of thrifting
Watch the videos below and learn about the impact your MCC Thrift shop has made locally and around the world over these past 50 years. You'll also meet a few of the volunteers who have made this work possible. Plus, go back in time and hear about the origins of MCC Thrift.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Here are a few of the questions we get the most.
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Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is an Anabaptist Christian ministry. We are an international charity that shares God’s love and compassion for all by responding to urgent needs around the world and working for peace and justice. In all our programs, MCC is committed to meeting the needs of our local partners and churches as their needs guide our priorities.
Proceeds generated by sales at MCC Thrift shops are shared with MCC to support relief, development and peace work around the world. Every year, MCC Thrift shops generate millions of dollars to support the work of MCC locally and internationally.
Before opening our first shop, MCC shipped secondhand clothes to partners all over the world. With rising shipping costs, leadership determined that money would be better spent buying items locally at a fraction of the cost.
After hearing about this change, Linie Friesen, Selma Loewen, Susan Giesbrecht and Sara Stoesz saw an opportunity and dreamed up the concept of opening a temporary shop with the goal of turning secondhand clothing into cash to help others. In March 1972, the first MCC Thrift shop opened in Altona, Manitoba.
Fast forward to present day and this one temporary shop has turned into over 85 shops in operation across Canada and the U.S. Today, MCC Thrift continues to help provide relief, development and peace in the name of Christ for people all over the world through MCC.
MCC works in 45 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean as well as in Canada and the U.S. We are partnered with local organizations and have workers who are helping people in need.
MCC’s impact is global, and it’s also very local. We’re walking alongside people in Canada and the U.S. to help build healthy communities, families and relationships through a variety of programs. For more information on projects MCC is supporting in your state, please visit mcc.org/what-we-do/where-we-work or contact your local MCC office.
Shopping at your local MCC Thrift shop saves you money on items you need and on treasures you want. It’s also a great way to be kind to our planet by giving new life to gently used items. We invite you to go treasure hunting today!
Plus, when you make a purchase or donate to your local MCC Thrift shop, you’re helping people in need locally and around the world through MCC-supported projects. Your purchase helps women in places like Afghanistan learn to read. Your donation helps children in places like South Sudan go to school by receiving school supplies. Your support also helps families in disaster-torn countries get the emergency supplies they need and so much more.
An MCC Thrift shop is a place where everyone wins. Our shops create positive change in the world, from shoppers, donors and volunteers to people in need in countries around the globe. Whether it’s choosing to shop secondhand as an eco-friendly practice, finding a bargain on daily necessities, clearing the clutter from your home, volunteering hours in your week or providing funds for global relief, development and peace programs, countless people benefit locally
and around the world because you choose to shop
at your local MCC Thrift shop.
Proceeds from your MCC Thrift purchase go towards supporting MCC relief, development and peace projects in local communities and around the world. Because our shops also need to keep their lights on and pay their employees, a portion of the proceeds goes toward covering typical operation costs. After these bills are paid, many of our shops send 90-100% of their net income to support MCC programs. To date, MCC Thrift shops have contributed over $250 million in the last 50 years to people in need.
Our shops are often a part of the fabric of their local communities, ensuring that necessary household and clothing items are available at a reasonable cost to those who need them. We also help build healthy communities, families and relationships by partnering with other organizations to serve the local community and increase local impact. We also provide work experience and employment opportunities. For more information on projects MCC Thrift is supporting in your state, contact your local MCC office.
MCC Thrift also helps reduce waste, care for the environment and provide a place for local community members to volunteer and gain valuable work experience.
Pricing is a delicate balance. Our thrift shops’ main goals are to support the communities we serve with affordable pricing and provide funding for local and global projects that MCC supports. Our shops are also not immune to the rising costs of living. As with other non-profit organizations, we have monthly operational costs we need to pay. All of these factors contribute to the current cost of the items you find in our shops.
Yes! There are many ways to get involved with your local shop.
We’d love to talk to you about our volunteer opportunities. Our shops work to create a safe setting for our volunteers to build community and connection and to engage in the work of MCC.
Become a thrift volunteer today by filling out our online application form found at mccthrift.com/volunteer.
You can also support your local MCC Thrift shop by donating your gently-used goods.
We’re excited to see an increase in secondhand shopping as this helps keep more waste out of landfills and generates more support for MCC’s programs. While being trendy may be motivation for some people now choosing to shop secondhand, our purpose has not changed. We provide financial support for the work of MCC as well as a more environmentally sustainable and affordable shopping option for our customers. We welcome everyone to shop MCC Thrift.
Yes! We could not keep our shops going without our amazing volunteers. Our volunteers form the foundation and culture of each shop, making each location unique and special to shop in. Through their work, our volunteers also get the chance to give back to their local communities, impact the world by supporting MCC’s programs, learn skills and develop new abilities and be part of a supportive, safe community. Most shops also have a small number of paid staff that organize their volunteers and help keep things running as efficiently as possible.
Our shops play a key role in putting MCC’s sustainability principles into action. Through the operations of our shops, the number of items sent to local landfills is reduced as they are given new life, sometimes multiple times. Our shops also work to recycle, repurpose and repair any items that they can.