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A gift that keeps growing

Modified: Monday, Jan 9th, 2017

Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian Christy Licker, owner of Caroline's Non-Profit Thrift Shop in Aptos, talks about the annual Caroline's Gifting Ceremony, which handed out $275,000 Sunday to area agencies that assist children in need.

Organizations benefit from nonprofit thrift store

APTOS — A tiny Aptos thrift shop has surpassed its charitable giving record this year, donating $275,000 to 26 nonprofit agencies throughout Santa Cruz County.

Nestled in the heart of Aptos Village at 402 Trout Gulch Road, Caroline’s Non-Profit Thrift Shop contains a colorful mélange of clothes, household goods, books and art, in addition to crafts such as items knitted by volunteers.

Owner Christy Licker donates the proceeds from the year’s sales to charity.

The store was founded in memory of Licker's daughter, Caroline, who died at 16 after receiving support from four nonprofit agencies dedicated to supporting children and their families.

Licker said she wanted to find a way to help families going through the things hers did.

“I have a soft spot for kids,” she said. “I feel like, as a community this is what we should be doing.”

In choosing which organizations that receive donations, Licker looks to those that provide services for children with special medical, developmental or psychological needs. They must also be based in Santa Cruz County. Further, they must be an established nonprofit organization.

This includes the “Core Four” recipients, which are Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition, Hospice of Santa Cruz County, Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services and Special Parents Information Network. Those received $25,000 each.

In 2015, the shop gave out what was then a record $240,000, and last year gave away $250,000 to 21 nonprofit organizations.

Since it opened in 2010, Caroline’s has donated $1,125,000 to local nonprofits, Licker said.

For Licker and her team of 84 volunteers, the event is more than a time to merely give away money.

It is also a chance to meet the people who run and work for the nonprofit agencies that benefit from the funds, said volunteer Cyd Percin.

“It motivates us when we see what our dollars do,” she said. “Listening to the work (the charities) do is the most heartwarming thing ever.”

The thrift shop is in the midst of fundraising efforts, which would help the organization improve its existing facilities and expand its space. Licker hopes someday to have enough space to offer craft lessons and other meetings.

The main building needs new flooring, wiring, and sink, among other things. Licker estimates the improvements will cost $1 million, and has started a campaign on the fundraising website Crowdrise (tinyurl.com/z5ozboh). 

  None of the funds for the capital campaign will be taken from the shop’s charitable fund.


This year’s donations


• Children's Hospice & Palliative Care Coalition, $25,000

• Hospice of Santa Cruz, $25,000

• Jacob's Heart, $25,000

• SPIN, $25,000

• Team G Cancer Foundation, $1,500

• Hope's Closet, $3,000

• Shared Adventures, $4,000

• Community Bridges, $5,000

• Kinship Center, $5,000

• Building Rhythms, $5,000

• Food For Kids/Second

Harvest Food Bank, $5,000

• Youth N.O.W., 5,000

• Adaptive Yoga, $6,000

• Camp Kesum, $6,000

• For Kids Monterey Bay, $7,000

• Easter Seals Central

Calif/Respite, $8,000

• Nourishing Generations, $9,000

• Survivors Healing Center, $10,000

• Big Brothers/Big Sisters, $10,000

Santa Cruz

• Partnership For Children, $10,000

• Walnut Avenue Women's

Center, $10,500

• Teen Kitchen Project, $15,000

• CASA, $25,000

• Coastal Kids Home Care, $25,000

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