fcs ursula atkinsonPhoto - Volunteer Ursula Atkinson of Little Silver

LONG BRANCH, NJ - Do you have an eye for fashion? Are you always on the lookout for a good bargain?  Do you enjoy meeting new people?

Then we have an opportunity for you! Family & Children's Service (FCS), Monmouth County's oldest, private non-profit social service agency, is currently seeking responsible, enthusiastic, dedicated individuals to join our volunteer team at the FCS Thrift Boutique in Long Branch. The popular resale store, located at 307 Branchport Avenue, offers new and gently used men's and women's clothing, shoes and accessories for sale in a charming, boutique environment. The boutique is staffed by a knowledgeable, professional sales staff, but it's the volunteers that really make the store special!

"Our Thrift Boutique volunteers are critical to helping us fulfill our Mission and Vision to strengthen, protect and preserve the dignity and independence of people in need," says FCS Director of Volunteer Services Samantha White. "Since all of the proceeds from the store go directly to support FCS programs and services, we try to keep operating expenses low.

fcs mary lou faitoutePhoto - Volunteer Mary Lou Faitoute of Tinton Falls

Volunteers help us offset many of the costs associated with running the store, allowing us to stay open more hours and offer more service to the community."

Mary Lou Faitoute of Tinton Falls has been volunteering at the Thrift Boutique for more than a year. The retired school teacher comes in once a week to help sort through donations, tag and hang items that are suitable for sale and assist customers on the sales floor. Mary Lou, who volunteers at a number of other nonprofit organizations, says helping out at the Thrift Boutique is a lot of fun.

"You get to see the clothes as they come in. There are some really great deals! Plus you get to know the customers," Mary Lou says. "Many of them stop in several times a week to check out the new items or just check in with one another. It's an important resource for the community."

Ursula Atkinson of Little Silver says volunteering at the Thrift Boutique has helped her discover a whole new side of herself.  Since retiring from her job as an instructor at Rutgers University, Ursula has taken on the job of styling and merchandising the Thrift Boutique windows and displays.

Originally, she thought she would come for just a few hours one day a week, but she loved it so much, she usually stays the entire day, often creating a central fashion theme for the entire store.

"I love tapping into my creative vein," Ursula says with a smile. "This gives me an opportunity to do that. There is always something new in the store, and I love the challenge of pulling an outfit together, whether for a display or a customer. It's a lot of fun! It's a very special, social place." 

In order to do her job, however, Ursula relies on a steady stream of donated items. Fortunately, it's easy to donate!  The Thrift Boutique is always in need of new and gently used men's and women's clothing, shoes and accessories, especially as the seasons change, including belts, wallets, handbags and jewelry. No appointments are necessary. Donations can be dropped off during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. The store is closed on Sundays. A complete list of items the Thrift Boutique accepts can be found at http://fcsmonmouth.org/wp-content/uploads/Thrift-Donations.pdf

The Thrift Boutique welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of retail experience. Scheduling is flexible. Volunteers can work just a few hours a month or several days a week, depending on their availability, and they can even bring a friend to share the workload. To learn more about becoming a Thrift Boutique volunteer, contact Samantha White at 721-222-9111 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Or sign up online at http://fcsmonmouth.org/our-services/volunteer-programs/apply/ To stay up to date on what's in the FCS Thrift Boutique, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Thethriftboutique.