Willing Hearts Consignment Shop Supports the Community
Did you know that the Willing Hearts Consignment Shop, located at 491 Bloomfield Ave., in Caldwell, is fully staffed by 45 volunteers, and that all the profits, about $50,000 a year, are donated through the Rotary of the Caldwells to local charities and service organizations? Most recently, Willing Hearts efforts helped support Rotary’s donation of $12,500 for scholarships at West Essex High School, James Caldwell High School, and Essex Valley School, the donation of an automatic CPR machine to the West Essex First Aid Squad, funding support to the North Caldwell and West Caldwell Fire Departments, and a $10,000 donation to Ethan and the Bean, a non-profit coffee shop that supports people with special needs. All in all, Willing Hearts has donated $1.6M over 25 years.
“Willing Hearts is a tremendous volunteer-based operation with a goal of serving the community. In addition, Willing Hearts has really helped the Rotary, which contributes about $100,000 per year to local projects and charitable organizations, amplify its donation efforts,” says Brian Barbera, of West Caldwell, who manages club services for the Rotary of the Caldwells.
Open for 25 years, Willing Hearts’ consignors, who come from all over NJ, consign home goods, jewelry, handbags, and women’s clothing. Consignors receive a 60/40 split. The shop holds many fundraising and needs-based drives including Project Prom Dress, where dresses are collected and donated to underprivileged students in NJ. In addition, 100% of the inventory that doesn’t sell is donated on a weekly basis to homeless shelters.
In honor of being open for 25 years, this fall, Willing Hearts held a formal dinner at the Hanover Manor to honor its volunteers for their unwavering contributions to the shop. The night was also a time for volunteers and Rotary Members to reflect on Willing Heart’s humble beginnings as the late Pat Kieran, dedicated volunteer and founder of Willing Hearts, was remembered. At the dinner, Rotary honored Willing Heart volunteers both past and present by donating a fast response vehicle to the West Essex First Aid Squad in the name of Willing Hearts. Rotary also honored the contributions of George Bales, who dedicated his time to maintaining Willing Hearts website, social media, and promotional material.
Brian says that during Covid, Willing Hearts shut down for nine months; however, it is now hitting record-breaking revenue records. “This is a testament to the hard work of the volunteers,” he says.
The public is invited to shop at Willing Hearts, which is always looking for more volunteers to join the ranks. Willing hearts is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm, and until 8 pm on Tuesdays.