Meet Ruth! Ruth is one of our beloved volunteers who has been serving since 2004. She consistently manages volunteers, oversees the clothing operations, sorts and prices incoming housewares, and heads our Vintage and Collectibles department. Ruth grew up in Germany, moved to the United States after she graduated high school, and worked as a Human Resources manager for three different German companies.
Ruth was one of our first New 2 You volunteers and was working even before our doors opened. She never considered herself a thrift shopper, but she was excited about the opportunity to serve the Grand Rapids Christian Schools with her management experience when the opportunity to volunteer arose. At that time almost 20 years ago, Ruth knew almost nothing about vintage items and how to determine their value. However, years of searching the web and watching Antiques Roadshow have proven very helpful. She now loves working in the department and prioritizes honoring donations by selling them at a fair price. “It’s always a puzzle trying to figure out the value,” she commented. She thrives with the challenge and research that the Vintage and Collectibles department requires as the value of vintage items fluctuate while consumer interests change.
When asked why a person should donate and shop at New 2 You, she responded by emphasizing the value of supporting local families. While many thrift shops have become chains, New 2 You is locally connected to the Grand Rapids Christian Schools. The donations and revenue stay in Grand Rapids. When asked what donations her department and customers get most excited about, vintage furniture and lamps were at the top of her list. Dishes, such as vintage Fiestaware, are also very appreciated, but she noted that these can often be hit-or-miss depending on if they’re able to go in the dishwasher.
Ruth is constantly inspired by the family-like community at New 2 You, and the people are the main reason why she loves to volunteer. “The community, the fellowship, and the friendship are ultimately the reward.” In addition to loving the community, she sees each volunteer and their support to be invaluable for the store. Their dedication does not go unnoticed by Ruth. “It’s a very unique place,” she said as she reflected on the many friendships she’s made over her years volunteering.
We’re so thankful for Ruth, her leadership, her love for volunteers, and the quality work that she brings into everything that she does!