On February 27 and 28 from 1-5pm, the Carleton Mutual Aid Fund (CMAF) will hold its first ever Mutual Aid Thrift Store in the Little Nourse Theater. CMAF was founded in May of 2021, with the intention to alleviate the harms of wealth inequality and create a means of support for students in need. The fund receives donations from the Carleton community via Venmo, which it redistributes to students in need on a request basis.
Organizers Tori Aguado ’24, Grace Bassekle ’24 and Hannah Ward ’24 hope that this is the first Mutual Aid Thrift Store of many, as they plan to hold similar events every term from now on.
“Since it’s the first one, we’re really just trying to make it happen and once it’s up, it’s up, and whatever money we get is what we get, and next term we’ll learn from it,” said Aguado. “So making sure the word is sufficiently spread is really what I’m worried about. We want this to be something students think about every term and for it to take root as a tradition.”
Aguado, Ward and Bassekle have spent the last month working out the logistics in preparation for the thrift store. Residential Assistants (RAs) have placed donation boxes in all dorms across campus, where students can donate clothing items.
Other groups have also collaborated with CMAF. According to Ward, CMAF received the donation boxes from the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) and hangers from the Lighten Up house.
“We have donation boxes set up all around campus, in dorms and in Sayles, and we promoted it to have students donate their clothing, stuff they don’t want,” said Aguado. “And then on the 8th weekend, we’re going to curate the clothes we receive to make sure they’re all items that should be sold, that the clothes are clean and they have value.”
Once the clothes are donated and curated, the organizers will work to set up a pop-up store in the Little Nourse Theater. But the Mutual Aid Thrift Store will have one notable difference from your average second-hand shop.
“The payment is going to be on a sliding scale,
really just pay what you can” said Ward. “We’re relying on the discretion of students. Whatever they take, they give what they think is an appropriate amount, and that money will go directly to Mutual Aid.”
“We don’t really like to set prices on our fundraisers, since everyone at Carleton is only able to pay a certain amount,” said Hannah Ward. “For example, at the bake sale we hold every term, we get donations from $2 to $100 for the same piece of bread. At the end of the day, it all adds up, and we appreciate every cent we can get.”
Both Ward and Aguado emphasized the importance of volunteers in ensuring that the store can run successfully.
“We plan to send out a SignUpGenius with the next round of campus announcements. Right now, the volunteers we have are just a handful of RAs,” said Aguado. “We want to get the word out that if you want to volunteer, you can get a first look at the clothes, so come volunteer and help set up. That’s how we’re trying to get other people involved. Volunteers are going to be really important.”
The Mutual Aid Thrift Store will take place 8th weekend, February 26 and 27 from 1-5pm in the Little Nourse Theater. Donation boxes can be found in Sayles Campus Center or in dorms around campus. You can donate to the Carleton Mutual Aid Fund directly on Venmo at @Carleton-MutualAid.