Photo Courtesy of Sower Staff
By Janis Buelow
Mennonite Central Committee, the organization behind the Et-Cetera Thrift Shop in Seward, is celebrating 100 years of service to their communities.
MCC opened its first thrift shop in the province of Manitoba, Canada in 1972, with the intent for funding to go directly to different fundraisers and missions in association with the MCC, as outlined in their mission statement. Since then, over 100 thrift shops remain open across North America. Locations become a common place of attendance for students to find a good deal on clothing and furniture.
There are many people who are proud of the accomplishment, including Et Cetera manager Jamie Springer, who said that her small thrift shop has accomplished a lot in assistance to the MCC.
“Everything here is donated in. Last year we sent 200,000 to missions worldwide. We also donate to three other places in Nebraska. While everything’s gone south because of COVID, 100 years is a long time to be doing service and they’ve done a lot of good worldwide,” Springer said.
Students from Concordia University are known to be popular customers at the shop and a big reason Etcetera continues to thrive, according to Springer.
“Concordia students bring life to this community. We love when students come in. Thrifting has become a fad, so many students come with their friends to find good deals on furniture and clothes,” Springer said.
For students like junior Gabby Mason, Et-Cetera is a hub for good deals and a place to be social.
“I just like the small town aspect, being here with friends, and the vintage-y looking clothes.” Mason said.
The 100 years of service signifies the Mennonite community giving back to the people around them, whether it be soup kitchens, food pantries, mission trips, or low-cost thrift shops for those in need. The MCC gives hours of service outside of the shop, focusing their efforts on bettering the community through service and community fellowship.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the celebration’s event,” Springer said, “It has been tremendously downsized. We generally host a dinner for our 75 volunteers annually to thank them for their service. However, the pandemic has created even bigger issues. Since we can’t meet in person, we can’t celebrate.”
Beaver Crossing resident Nick Kyle said he was disappointed that the novel coronavirus pandemic forced the MCC to halt the centennial celebrations.
Kyle said, “Et Cetera is awesome. They take care of their customers and do a good service to those around them. In fact, if I didn’t volunteer elsewhere, I would spend more time in a place like this.”