Used Goods, Fresh Hope

Mary Kotzas, of Toms River, founded the Resale Shop, which donates all its proceeds to Hunger Relief, a food bank in Ocean County.

Photo by John Emerson.

At age 80, Mary Kotzas knows exactly what makes her happy.

“I have always enjoyed handing over these very nice checks and having people say, ‘If it wasn’t for this check, we couldn’t do these programs,’” Kotzas says.

These days, the checks come thanks to the Resale Shop in Toms River, a nonprofit charity retail shop that donates all proceeds to Hunger Relief, an Ocean County food bank.

Kotzas founded the Resale Shop in 2002 and began donating funds to Ocean’s Harbor House, a Toms River shelter for abused and runaway children. Kotzas raised $500,000 for the shelter before taking on a new charity a year-and-a-half ago. After learning Ocean County’s food pantries were in trouble, Kotzas began donating the shop’s proceeds to Hunger Relief. So far, the shop has contributed $76,000 to the organization. Although Kotzas, who has been married for 61 years and has four children, has cut her schedule back to three days a week, she still works as the volunteer CEO of the Resale Shop. “It is very satisfying,” she says. “I can’t imagine stopping.”

The Resale Shop sells a variety of items including women’s clothing, household appliances, and holiday decorations. “Every day we are sorting through boxes, cleaning, pricing, and putting out on the shelves,” says Kotzas.

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