Pop-Up Shop bags returning thrift store patrons

By Rachel Skerker
Correspondent

Students peruse through the Education Building lobby for clothing (Meagan McDowell / Staff Photographer).

In one trunk on the floor, a cluster of scarves swirled and spilled out in a vibrance of color. A few steps away, tables heaped with striped sweaters and flowery shirts commanded the attention of passersby. Students milled around the shop, slinging shirts, jackets and miscellaneous items over their arms before heading to the cash register in the center of the Education Building lobby to pay for their clothes.

On March 13, the Bonner Scholar Program held its Spring Pop-Up Shop, a clothing charity that attracted the attention of students who had heard about the shop through advertisements or came across it as they passed through the building’s lobby.

The clothing was from the thrift shop of the Trenton Rescue Mission, located on Carroll Street in Trenton, which provides the homeless population of Trenton and Mercer County with resources such as housing, job training and drug treatment. All profits from the sale went directly to the mission.

“The thrift project is a site run through the Bonner Scholar Program and we volunteer with the rescue mission of Trenton to raise funds to provide for their services,” said Allie Davanzo, a junior public health major and one of the site-leaders for the thrift project.

Davanzo and her site co-leader, Meghan Feeley, a sophomore art education major, go every Wednesday to the thrift store and select clothing to sell at pop-up shops. The group puts on two pop-up shops each semester, along with satellite events occurring at locations such as the Punk Rock Flea Market in Trenton.

Davanzo and Feeley store the bags of clothing they obtain each week in a storage locker in Forcina Hall before bringing them out for the each pop-up shop.

“We have a whole mix of clothes,” Feeley said. “When we’re in the store, we just try to think ‘Would I buy this?’ Or if we see something really, really cool, we just grab it.”

The pop-up shop attracted both students and faculty, some of whom were returning patrons.  

“I’ve been here two other times, and I look forward to it every single time,” said freshman art education major Renee Garzillo. “I got this red shirt that I ended up wearing for Christmas last time I went to one.”

A week before the event, Davanzo and Feeley, along with other Bonner Scholars and volunteers, conducted a photo shoot of students modeling clothing that would be sold at the pop-up shop.

“I always do the photo shoots and I always like to come here and see the finished product,” said Alexandra Raskin, a sophomore journalism and professional writing major and Bonner Scholar who volunteered at the event. “Sometimes I can recommend things to people that I’ve worn and that I’ve liked, so that’s always fun for me.”

Davanzo and Feeley explained that while the pop-up shops bring the clothing to campus, College students and general members of the community are welcome anytime to go to the rescue mission’s thrift shop.

“I think it’s important that TCNJ students know that they can go into Trenton to support their community,” Davanzo said. “Because we’re a part of that community too.”

Two more pop-up shops will be held during this semester. One will be on April 24 on the Green Hall Lawn and the other will be held toward end of the semester as a final sale, with the date to be determined.   

Feeley explained that students who are not Bonner Scholars are encouraged to participate in the pop-up shop event.

“Whenever anyone asks what the pop-up shop is, I try to explain and help them realize where this is all coming from and who this is benefiting, and that they can go to the rescue mission whenever they want,” Feeley said. “This is all about getting people involved in the community that they themselves are a part of.”

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