by Carrie Filtingberger, CEO Special Needs Support, Inc.

Have you shopped at Thrift 'N Treasures lately? If so, you will see that EVERYONE seems to be doing Spring Cleaning! We have been receiving so many wonderful donations! THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUING GENEROUS SUPPORT! Without our community of donors and shoppers we could not succeed, and all of you have been instrumental in our fulfilling the ongoing mission of the nonprofit the thrift store funds. SPECIAL NEEDS SUPPORT, INC. is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to assisting families of children (to the age of 21) having physical handicaps and disabilities by providing household goods, clothing, toys, information, medical supplies and equipment, and financial resources. "We help special needs familes to successfully cope in their daily struggle with crisis, enhancing the quality of life for their entire family." The primary way we can do this is by having the thrift store open for them to shop without cost to them. This community has allowed us to succeed in this and we commend you.

Our goal for this coming year of 2010 is to gain more client families, so anyone with a physically disabled child is invited to contact us for information at 620-725-3174 (the shop) or 620-216-0153 (cell). WE HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU AND ASSIST YOU!

Would you like to know what you have been accomplishing along with us? From Nov. 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2008 (not quite 2 years) SNS, Inc. was able to provide our client families with $19,938.53 in assistance: $16,459.78 in thrift store shopping, $1,811.00 in food, $265.93 in medical assistance, $486.55 in household assistance and utilities, $128.18 in cash assistance, and $178.00 in camp fees.

We have given cash donations to The American Diabetes Association and to The American Cancer Society, and have assisted Pleasant Valley Manor in Sedan, Howard Twilight Manor, The Chautuaqua County Animal Shelter, Sedan Schools and El Dorado Special Needs classes by passing along donations which would help them, and have helped Dorothy Porter with supplies to her African Orphanage in Zambia, Africa. Cash donations from customers at the thrift store have also been sent by Dorothy to help take care of the 250 children there whose parents have died from AIDS.

Along with that we have sent 25,530 pounds (almost 13 tons) of clothing, shoes, and toys to 3rd world countries who are in need of help (disaster-striken countries included). I have not finished the 2009 bookwork, but when that is all totaled, we will have even more to be proud about...all with your assistance. We appreciate you so much, as do the persons we help. Thank you.

My husband, Steve, and I have worked hard over these past 5 years to enable this venture to succeed, and some of you have asked why we do it...well, we want to help people and we actually enjoy all of this! It is hard work, but it does need to be done to make a better community for us all.

The policy for SNS, Inc. is transparity in it's records, so I thought I would let you know that as officers in the nonprofit, Steve and I do not draw a salary. As for working at the thrift store, in 2006 we didn't get paid anything. In 2007, Carrie made 14¢ per hour for a yearly pay of $510.00 and Steve made 19¢ an hour for a total wage of $395.00. In 2008 Carrie had wages of $744.73 and Steve's yearly pay was $801.66. In 2009, neither of us received wages (this past year has been challenging for everyone in our area!). As you can see, we don't do this for a paycheck!

When our granddaughter, Alorra Lynn, was diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial disease and her family was trying as hard as they could to make her life comfortable and pleasant, we struggled along with them and were able to see how difficult it was for the whole family. After she died in November, 2003, I just couldn't forget about all of the families with physically disabled children who needed so much and had so little help. In 2004 the idea for the nonprofit was formed, and with much hard work and effort we are now proud to see the fruits of our labors and the wonderful results that are being achieved. If you try to imagine the struggles these families have beyond the "normal" day-to-day issues we all must deal with, it will make YOU proud, too, that you are helping us to fulfill our mission! It's a good thing, and we can all share in some way in providing practical help for them if we continue to work together and share our resources. We hope to be able to continue expanding our services as resources become available and also to continue to be a great shopping place for locals and travelers alike.

A huge thank you goes to our hard-working volunteers who have made it possible for our continuing success. Over the past few years these have greatly assisted us without pay or with very minimal pay: Sara Buhler, Shannon & Zach Hettenbach, Brian Chestnut, Barbara Snider, Sue Kill, Frieda White, Mike Buhler, Dr. Joan Rajacich (she works so hard on all of our beautiful landscaping & flowers), Shirley Wilson, Peggy Lewis, Laura Frizzell, Nuvia Medina Estrada, Quin Addis, Egypt Burden, Summer Lane, Kat & Amanda Hinkle, Erin, Cobretti, & Drake Frederickson, Kiera Zimmerman, Jake Riddle. You are such a big part of our success and we appreciate all of you so much! Also, those kind persons who have assisted us in even small ways are appreciated...as well as all of the positive comments we receive; it all helps to keep us motivated in continuing to improve the Sedan (Chautauqua, Elk, and Montgomery counties) area!

Of course, thanks goes to our donors who have given us so much to be able to operate the thrift store! When the shop first opened, I had in mind to list the donors on our "thank you wall"...but the donations came in so fast and so enormously that I had to let go of that (for the time being at least)...needless to say, even if your name didn't get posted on our wall, we still thank you and appreciate your donation! I apologize for not being able to get everyone listed there.

An added benefit for this area since the opening of Thrift 'N Treasures is that the entire community has had a fun and interesting place to shop while saving money...you never know what you will find there...perhaps that unique treasure you have been looking for! You will also find clothing for the whole family that is BETTER THAN NEW...looks new, costs lots less! Household items, furniture, toys and games, a whole library full of books, CD's, videos and DVD's, craft items, vintage and seasonal goodies, and a whole lot more! We even have a perpetual yard sale going in our back yard with tents full of clothing and household items. There really is something for everyone...if you haven't yet shopped at Thrift 'N Treasures, we invite you to do so and compare our merchandise and prices with any other store you regularly visit...you will probably be pleasantly surprised!

If you HAVE shopped lately, you have seen the mountain of donations that is filling the carport...WE ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF A SORTING BUILDING. Also we have lost the use of our shop downtown on Chautauqua Street (our furniture store) so our inside space here at the thrift store is extremely limited. We are calling upon the community (again) to help us find a barn, a big shed, a shop, any sort of building in or very close to Sedan where we can sort and process the donations, or even store furniture, because we are out of room at the thrift store location. We have to sort outside or wherever we can, then bring inside to clean, hang, tag, price, etc. and we don't have room for it. PLEASE if you have any sort of large building we could use or that you can gift to SNS, Inc. it would be appreciated more than you can know! The only thing required besides space is that the building not leak. We can make do with anything that you would want to donate either as a property donation, or space for our use, and since we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, any forgiven rental charges OR "sale" price can be itemized as a charity donation on your income tax. It may be a win-win situation for all! Again, thanks so much for all of our generous donors and customers, we can't do this without you