Sun Cities resale shops offer holiday deals, volunteer opportunities

December 21, 2016 GMT

Offering big-buck bang on top-quality castoffs, the Sun Health resale shops look more like the high-end consignment stores shoppers expect to find in Scottsdale or the Biltmore.

But they still draw thrifty shoppers looking for last-minute deals as the holiday season draws to a close.

“They have the best merchandise in town,” said Sun City resident Jean McGrath, while shopping at the Sun City West resale store, 14445 R.H. Johnson Blvd.

She visits that store nearly every week to check in on the ever-changing variety of goods, which are donated members of the community.

Jeanetta Jeter drives in from Sun City Grand every month to peruse the shelves of the densely packed Sun City West location, which she says is one of her favorite shops.

“I spend a lot of money here,” she said.

Both stores have been running holiday specials, with Christmas decorations and some items discounted up to 25 percent. Depending on what remains on the shelves this week, the stores could sell some remaining items for as little as half price.

The stores will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. throughout the final holiday week and closed Saturday through Monday in observance of Christmas.

All about donations

Sun Health’s dedicated shoppers know how to spot a bargain – but they also know their purchases benefit the community.

Purchases and donations at the resale stores benefit the Sun Health Foundation, which supports the missions of Banner Boswell Medical Center, 10401 W. Thunderbird Blvd., Sun City; Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, 14502 W. Meeker Blvd., Sun City West; and Banner Sun Health Research Institute, 10515 W. Santa Fe Drive, Sun City, as well as community wellness programs, health education and special projects.

The Sun City West store partnered with the Sun City West Foundation since it first opened; the two nonprofits share the proceeds of sales at that location. The Sun City West Foundation provides a variety of benefits to the community, including the Helping Hands program, as well as free rentals of items for in-home health care.

Sun Health relies on items donated from the community to stock the shelves and residents of the Sun Cities keep them busy with their generosity. Donated items often exceed what can be retailed in-store and some will get sold on Craigslist or Ebay.

“We try to maximize,” said Sue Slezak, Sun Health stores retail manager. “It’s our duty to get the most out each donation.”

According to the published Sun Health 2016 Community Benefit Report, the resale stores generated $292,000 in the past year. The foundation was supported by more than 31,000 donors and received $7.2 million in gifts in 2016.

High-end jewelry and collectibles that are not sold in-store may go to the highest bidder, while some goods get donated to other charities, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona or the Salvation Army. Sun Health wants to offer a good value to shoppers, but balances that with their mission to make the most of donations in service to the community, she said.

“What we can’t use is donated down the line,” said Ms. Slezak.

Volunteer opportunities

Ms. Slezak is one of only three full-timers and one part timer that work in the Sun Health resale stores.

Donated items are only part of the story – without the time generously donated by volunteers, the stores could not operate.

Sun Health seeks volunteers to help at the resale shops. Volunteers wait on customers at the counter and assist them throughout the store. They also help with receiving donations, testing and cleaning items to prepare for resale. Those interested in volunteering in the stores should call or stop by.

Retail help is not all they need and Sun Health seeks volunteers to fill all kinds of roles, such as assistance with marketing. They often need help at the foundation office, at the hospitals and wellness center, and for special events.

“There are other occasional volunteer opportunities at our Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing in Surprise, as well at the Sun Health Foundation offices,” stated Ken Reinstein, Sun Health marketing and communications director, in an email.

Those interested in volunteering for Sun Health can call 623-832-5330. Visit www.scwfoundation.org.