Thrift shop raises money to build schools in Honduras

In an open room on the second floor of Stamp Student Union, students sifted among rows of tables lined with dozens of t-shirts. Clothing racks displayed hanging dresses and coats in varying sizes and styles. On a table in the corner lay an assortment of odds and ends: a rubber ducky, romance novels, several pumpkin-shaped Halloween decorations and even a remote-controlled “fart machine.”

Students and UMD staff and faculty could purchase gently used clothing and other items at Students Helping Honduras’s biannual thrift shop, nicknamed “Thrift SHHop,” Oct. 17 and 18 in the Stamp atrium.

“Each year we reach out to our members and their families, friends, neighbors, to donate any unwanted clothing, accessories and home decor,” Students Helping Honduras president Taylor Judge said. “This process takes a few weeks.”

The thrift shop has been held every semester for the past four years, junior psychology major and vice president of fundraising Lucie Wiedefeld said.

“It’s our most successful on-campus event, for sure,” Wiedefeld said.

One table at the Thrift SHHop housed a collection of Halloween-themed items and decorations.

Students Helping Honduras (SHH) is a national non-profit organization that works to alleviate poverty and violence in Honduras, primarily by building schools. Honduras is the second poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, with 66.2 percent of its population living in poverty, according to the Students Helping Honduras website.

Most of the people there barely have food to feed their families and live in fear of gang violence daily,” senior psychology major and SHH vice president of marketing Ryann Plotkin said.

The money fundraised by the Thrift SHHop goes directly toward building schools in Honduras, which are then run by Hondurans.

Right now, we are fundraising to build a school which costs $25,000,” Wiedefeld said. “We have a goal of raising $54,000, which would break the national chapter record.”

SHH organizes trips to Honduras each winter break for students to become directly involved with building schools.

“I absolutely love going on the trips to Honduras and learning about the culture, bonding with the locals and gaining a better understanding of the complexity of the problems facing the country,” said Judge, a senior supply chain management major.

Plotkin became involved with SHH after going to Honduras during her sophomore year.

“My roommate randomly decided to go, and we had both never even heard of it, so I decided to go with her,” Plotkin said. “Once I got there, I completely fell in love with the organization and the kids in the community. I saw how little they had, and how content they were, and how much they appreciated everything we were doing.”

After her trip, Plotkin decided to become involved with the club back on campus and to continue traveling to Honduras over her winter breaks. Wiedefeld felt a similar desire to join SHH after visiting the country.

“I was just looking for an organization to get involved with on campus, but then I went to Honduras, and I felt really strongly connected to the organization and its cause,” Wiedefeld said.

In addition to the Thrift SHHop, SHH holds various events throughout the year to raise money, such as selling t-shirts and food outside of Montgomery Hall.

“Last year, I planned a ‘paint out poverty’ event, where we had people paint on a board with ‘SHH’ in tape to ‘paint out poverty’ and raise awareness of the problem in Honduras,” Plotkin said.

SHH was recently voted to receive $500 from the Do Good Challenge during the Oct. 14 football game against Northwestern University. The Do Good Challenge is a competition that aims to reward and engage UMD students involved in philanthropy, according to its website.

For Judge, the best part of being in Students Helping Honduras is the people.

“There’s so much I love about SHH,” Judge said. “My overall favorite part of SHH, though, is all the friendships that I’ve made.”

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