bob zyskowski

Keshena thrift shop’s profits help pay parish bills

KESHENA — “Fill a bag for a buck.”

That’s the slogan at St. Michael’s Thrift N Gift, an all-volunteer-run ministry of the parish here, 45 miles northwest of Green Bay, on the Menominee Indian Reservation.

Located in Menominee County, one of Wisconsin’s poorest counties, Thrift N Gift is a ministry with a dual purpose: It’s a fundraising project for St. Michael Parish while at the same time serving a community with great needs, pointed out Cookie Vigue, a St. Michael parishioner, who coordinates the effort.

Vigue has worked at the small, house-sized shop for 10 years now, but she said she’s never really thought about the average number of people who come to the Thrift N Gift when it’s open the first and third Tuesday each month.

Cookie Vigue, who coordinates the St. Michael Thrift N Gift in Keshena, stands in one of the store’s clothing sections. (Bob Zyskowski | For The Compass)

“We did sell 300 bags for a buck in one day though,” she remembered.

Aisles, walls, floors and shelves are packed with both used and new clothing, towels, bedding and kitchen items, decorations, costume jewelry, religious items — almost anything a family in need might require. There’s a baby room with clothing and toys, a seasonal section that’s filled now with items for Valentine’s Day, and a cutely presented closet with antiques and collectibles that bring in cabin people from the area’s nearby lakes. A few steps away, the shop’s garage holds furniture and other large items.

Everything is donated, Vigue explained — by parishioners and non-parishioners alike, by donors as far away as Chicago and Madison, and by businesses in the area.

“Sometimes we’ll get items that haven’t been selling and they’ll still have the price tags on them,” she said.

Vigue, who is retired,

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