I was wrong.
Like so many before me I fell in love. In love with the beautiful scenery, the opportunities to explore and adventure at a moment’s whim, but most importantly, with my job and the community I have experienced through it. Whenever I tell people I work for WabiSabi the common response goes something like: “I love Wabi! The store is great and I know you all do a lot of other things too…” I realized that beyond placing a token in the jars after shopping, it can sometimes be confusing as to what our role is in this wonderful community. I would like to share what I have learned: WabiSabi, to shamelessly use our tagline, is much more than a thrift store, and Moab is so much more than an average small town.
Did you know that there are dozens of nonprofits right here in Moab? For a town of 5,000 this is extraordinary. Having so many people making it their job to better the quality of life of others is truly amazing and shows that though Moab is small, it is mighty. Nonprofit work has taught me to never underestimate the power of determined, passionate individuals — when those individuals come together, magic happens.
WabiSabi prides itself as being the hub for Moab’s nonprofit world. Through our programs we: open communication between organizations, hold monthly socials, bring workshops and trainings to local organizations, award an average of 50 percent net profit to 11 partners, and work with over 115 other organizations through the Immediate Relief Voucher Program, as well as the Community Donations Program. Every dollar spent, donation given, and hour volunteered at WabiSabi, is in turn, being put back into supporting Moab nonprofits and the thousands of individuals who depend upon them and their good work each and every day.
Through my work at WabiSabi I have been introduced to so many amazing organizations and wonderful people that I mostly likely never would have come in contact with otherwise. These people are feeding the hungry, teaching local youth, creating cultural bridges, providing safe spaces for those in need, and so much more. It makes me proud to live in a place that is so giving and so passionate about its people, and I am proud to work for an organization that does the same. WabiSabi is a unique nonprofit in that it has a fundraiser running seven days a week. The WabiSabi thrift store allows our organization to earn the money it takes to help us support our fellow nonprofits. It also allows us to redistribute both money and material goods to other organizations to utilize in the best way they can for the individuals that they serve.
During the past 10 years I have worked for and with multiple nonprofits in multiple states, and I can honestly say that I have seen nothing that even comes close to what we have here in Moab. There is an organization for every local need and interest, and I encourage everyone who is curious to get involved. This could look like: mentoring a student, brushing up on your Spanish, walking dogs at the Humane Society, or simply browsing at your friendly neighborhood thrift store.
Seeing how the people of this town work together for the betterment of the community as a whole has brought me hope, and helped this wanderer to find her home. For this I am so thankful.
Liz Donkersloot is the sustainability and community engagement coordinator VISTA volunteer at WabiSabi. She can be reached at 435-259-2553.