The Auxiliary of Fair Haven in Birmingham, AL, has been operating a Nearly New Shop on the retirement community campus for more than 45 years. The concept is simple, but the payoff is enormous. The Auxiliary collects donations of clothing, housewares, shoes, jewelry, furniture and more — almost any resalable item. What they do with the donated items makes a difference in people’s lives.

Nearly New Shop Chairpersons Caroline Thompson and Kathryn Ragland are the current volunteer organizers and operators of the Nearly New Shop at Fair Haven. Because of their efforts, Fair Haven enjoys a unique ministry for members of its retirement community and beyond its walls. Here are five ways that the Nearly New Shop is a win in Birmingham!

Win #1 – Donations are Tax-Deductible

Fair Haven enjoys status as a Methodist Home for the Aging, which is a 501(c)(3) organization doing business as Methodist Homes of Alabama & Northwest Florida. Cash donations to Fair Haven as well as donations of property, stocks, furniture, clothing, household goods and more, are tax-deductible as allowable by law. Resident family members, area church groups and others bring donated items to Fair Haven, where they are sorted and offered for sale in the Nearly New shop. The donors receive a gift receipt for their donations.

Win #2 – Shoppers Take Home Clothing and Other Goods at Bargain Prices

Anyone is welcome to shop at the Nearly New Shop, with posted hours of Tuesdays 1-4 pm, Thursdays 10 am – 4 pm, and Saturday 10:30 am – 4:00 pm. Occasionally the shop will have a special sale outside of their normal operating hours. The Nearly New Shop carries clothing, jewelry, household goods, shoes, scarves, books, decorative novelties, and more. The shop’s routine customers are residents and employees of Fair Haven, family members of residents, and people from area churches on the hunt for gently used merchandise at very little cost.

Win #3 – Social Workers Get Items FREE for Residents in Need

The community’s social workers are tuned in to the needs of the residents at Fair Haven. It happens occasionally that a resident in long-term care supported by Medicaid will arrive without a sufficient amount of clothing or other personal items. The social workers get their pick from the Nearly New Shop inventory at no cost to the residents, preserving the dignity that all Fair Haven residents deserve.

Win #4 – Sales Support Projects and Programs for Residents

Volunteers from the Fair Haven Auxiliary staff the Nearly New Shop, so there is no overhead to operate the shop. All funds that are raised, on average about $1500 each month, go into the Fair Haven Auxiliary account, which is used by the Auxiliary to support special projects and needs of residents at the retirement community. The Auxiliary routinely sends funds to support the Fountain of Love Fund, a financial assistance funds for residents. In 2017, the Auxiliary was able to provide $55,000 toward the Fair Haven redevelopment project. The Nearly New Shop is the primary source of funds for the Auxiliary’s projects.

Win #5 – Overflow Items are Re-donated to Another Local Charity

When donations overflow the availability of space in the Nearly New Shop, the excess items are sent to the Eastern Area Christian Ministries (EACM) on 2nd Avenue in Birmingham. The EACM uses the donated goods in its free shop for families in need.

For more information about life at Fair Haven, including details on our how to make Fair Haven your or your loved one’s new home, contact our admissions team at 205-956-4150, or send an email to Traci Kennedy at


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