Angelic volunteers reopen the Angel Guild Thrift Shop in Phase 2. Photo: Caleb Galbreath, KP News

Pandemic and unexpected expenses present problems to local institution known for its support of the community.

The Angel Guild, a KP institution that has been supporting the community for four decades, faced unexpected challenges during the pandemic. Accustomed to giving organizations grant money each month, the board found itself requesting assistance in May.

In February, Angel Guild had an unexpected expense when their heating and cooling unit had to be replaced. The closure in March due to the pandemic meant they no longer had income to cover operational costs or to provide grants. Although they did receive a small Paycheck Protection Program grant, it didn’t cover all of the ongoing expenses, and the bylaws require that the Guild have at least three months of operating costs in reserve.

The Angel Guild put out a call for help on May 16 through Facebook.

The community responded, with about $3,000 donated to date. Carla Parkhurst, coordinator of the thrift shop, said that the donations will go a long way and both she and board president Pat Kunzl were grateful for the expression of support.

As soon as the reserves are replenished, the grants program will resume. From the first grant of $1,000 awarded in 1979, The Angel Guild’s contribution to the community has grown by leaps and bounds. They have awarded about $100,000 in grants annually for the past several years.

The store reopened June 11 with some rules to ensure the safety of the customers. Everyone is required to wear a mask, the number of customers in the store is limited to eight at any given time, people are not allowed to try on clothes, and the public bathroom is closed. The staff will remind customers to follow social distancing guidelines.

Donations of goods to the thrift store are welcome, but both Kunzl and Parkhurst requested that donations only be dropped off if there is someone at the building to accept them. “If we don’t have space and things are left in the rain it just means we have to find a way to get rid of the donations,” Kunzl said. “It makes for a lot of extra work.”

Usual hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the store and 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for donations. Most of the volunteers are retirees and in the high-risk population for COVID-19 complications. Some are anxious to return to work while others plan to continue to stay home and stay safe. The store and donation hours may be affected by the number of volunteers available, and any changes will be posted at the store, on The Angel Guild Facebook page, and on the We’re Open tab on the Key Peninsula News website.

Editor’s Note: KP News is underwritten with support from The Angel Guild.