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New programs in place at Nightengale's

Modified: Tuesday, Jan 15th, 2013

Nightengale's Thrift Shop volunteer Matt Wallis holds a used printer that was recently left outside the store. Nightingale's has started charging a fee for disposal of used electronics equipment. The items will be taken to a state-recognized electronics recycling facility in Dixon. (Reporter photo by Bonnie Morris)

MENDOTA - Getting rid of old electronics can be a problem. Items such as computers, printers and TVs may no longer be thrown in the trash because they contain toxic materials that are a threat to the environment.

Generally, these items are not accepted by charitable organizations for resale either. Electronics become outdated quickly and there is very little demand for this type of used equipment. Unfortunately, for charities such as Nightengale's Thrift Shop in Mendota, electronics disposal becomes their problem when people dump these items on the sidewalk outside their store.

Nightengale's co-founder Kim Abel said the problem has increased since new state laws regarding electronics disposal took effect a year ago. Although Nightengale's relies on and appreciates donations from the community to support Trinity Healthcare of Mendota Free Clinic, the disposal of used electronics has become burdensome for the non-profit organization. "It's a problem when people give us outdated electronics that unfortunately, nobody really wants," Abel explained. "Then, we have to find storage for it until one of our volunteers can drive a vanload to Dixon. That costs us money."

Abel pointed out that while they truly appreciate the many wonderful donations they receive at Nightengale's, items such as printers, TVs, old computers and phones are a real problem. "We have to store things like that in the basement until we can dispose of them," she said.

To help offset the expense of the electronics disposal, Abel said Nightengale's has decided to accept items from people who have no other means of disposal but they will charge a small fee per item for handling (from $1 to $3 depending on size). The items will be taken to Secure Recycling Services in Dixon, which is a state-recognized collector, recycler and refurbisher of electronic waste.

Abel said she hopes this will alleviate the problem of people dumping electronics outside the store. She encouraged anyone with questions to call the store at (815) 539-6100.

Silent auction

Another new program has started recently at Nightengale's. Abel said the resale of "very unique, unusual pieces" will be done through silent auctions. Currently up for bid is a vintage wooden revolving bookshelf, which is displayed in the store's front window. Abel said people are welcome to stop in, see the item and leave a bid. The auction will end on March 1. Other items will be auctioned as they become available.

Trinity Healthcare Free Clinic

Although Trinity Healthcare Free Clinic has been operating for the past five years, Abel said many people are still not aware of the services they offer. While most of these services are for individuals not covered by Medicare, Medicaid, VA Care or private insurance, there is an exception for medication. "Even people who have insurance, sometimes their medication is so expensive, they cannot afford the co-pays," she said. "If we have samples of those medications, we can give it to them. Anyone in that situation should check with us."

The clinic can also loan medical equipment such as walkers, crutches and wheelchairs to those in need.


In exchange for treatment at the clinic, Abel said they now request that clients spend some time working in the thrift shop, which is the clinic's funding source. "That's how we pay the bills," she said. "Without volunteers, the doors shut."

Abel is a strong believer in the benefits of volunteer work and welcomes anyone who wishes to help out. "It may be better than taking pills," she laughed. "To get out and be involved instead of feeling sorry for yourself - to know you're an important part of something, I can't stress enough how important volunteer work is for the individual as well as the organization you're volunteering with - no matter what it is," she said.

Nightengale's Thrift Store is located at 708 Jefferson St., Mendota. Hours are Monday 1-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday noon to 4 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They may be reached by phone at (815) 539-6100. Also, look for Mendota Nightengale's page on Facebook.

To contact Trinity Healthcare for an appointment or information, phone (815) 910-0200.

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