Noah's Ark Thrift Shop started on a front porch. Today it thrives in a large building behind the St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, 2304 Periwinkle Way. Through generous donations the Ark has become a place where nearly any good-quality used items can be found from clothing and household items to books and small furniture.
"We have been very fortunate and received good donations this summer," said volunteer Jane Adams.
Customers come from both on and off island, including island visitors who make it part of their vacation, to shop at the thrift store. On Aug. 10, Noah's Ark will celebrate the end of the summer season with its annual bag day from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Customers will purchase marked bags for $3 in the parking lot and then fill them with items they choose from the store. Items that do not fit in the bag will receive an 80 percent off discount.
"It's over quickly," said many of the volunteers about bag day. "There is a long line early and for the first hour it's very busy."
While bag day shoppers nearly clear the shelves, any remaining items are bagged up and donated to other charities in need. The Ark is then closed for cleaning and repairs, which means donations will not be accepted until Sept. 1. Noah's Ark will reopen for the winter season from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays beginning Oct. 2. In November, the the thrift store will return to its regular schedule of 9:30 to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and the first Saturday of each month.
Noah's Ark is run by the Episcopal Church Women's (ECW) group at St. Michael & All Angels Church and staffed by volunteers from the church. Most of the store's proceeds benefit those less fortunate locally and globally. Local contributions include Brightest Horizon in Fort Myers, FISH of Sanibel, Harry Chapin Food Bank, Sanibel Sea School for a PACE scholarship and many other organizations.
"We are hoping next season is just as good as this season," said Adams.