Saturday, June 10, 2023

Season Is Here & The Bargain Basket Could Use A Helping Hand

Photos by Maria Lamb | Front room volunteers Pam, Samantha (Outreach Manager), Barb, and Marilyn.


The Bargain Basketlocated at 750 Bald Eagle Drive, is known as the island’s premier thrift shop. A ministry of the United Church of Marco Island, the Bargain Basket is a non-profit charitable mission of the church, according to Samantha Arago, Bargain Basket and Church Outreach Manager. “It is a part of our mission to offer great pricing to the community.” Proceeds from sales support the local community and multiple missions and ministry partners.  

Glass cabinet showcasing high-end crystal at reasonable prices.

As the busy season begins, with an increase in foot traffic and extended season hours, more volunteers are needed to help out. Samantha has said that the Bargain Basket normally has 150 volunteers, but 70of those are seasonal and don’t return to the island until January. Right now, they have just a handful of volunteers who’ve been helping out since the summer months.  

With the ongoing concerns of COVID-19, Samantha is very respectful of everyone’s comfort level. The Bargain Basket continues to closely monitor the situation, and volunteers and staff continue to clean and disinfect every day. Donors are encouraged to wash the items they are donating, just as shoppers are encouraged to wash the items they buy, to ensure cleanliness and safety. 

Masks are mandatory in the store for both volunteers and customers. Signs promoting social distancing of six feet are prominently displayed, and hand sanitizers are provided. 

Since October 19, the Bargain Basket has expanded shopping hours from 10 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Thursday. This is to ensure that shoppers can enjoy a more relaxed, less crowded and socially distanced atmosphere.  

Interested volunteers, who are assured a feeling of satisfaction in giving back to the community, can select the departments and times that fit their interests and schedules. Opportunities include areas such as cashiers, donation intake, sorting and pricingIf interested, please stop by the store to pick up an application, or email



Also new is a daily sales program rather than one large monthly sale. Featured sale categories are now posted on the Bargain Basket’s Facebook page. This helps keep the crowds down. You also can sign up to receive the Bargain Basket’s weekly newsletter at  

Medical supplies—such as canes, walkersare free of charge. All they ask is that you bring the items back once youve finished using them. Borrowers may, of course, make a donation at the front counter 

Front room holiday display.

A 10% discount is also extended to all veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters, nurses and all first responders as an appreciation of gratitude for the sacrifices they make to keep the residents safe. A Birthday discount of $3 off your purchase is extended on your birthday or the day before/after. 

The Bargain Basket just celebrated its 45th anniversary last year. Samantha shared that within that time frame, it started from the trunk of a car at the church’s parking lot, worked out of a coin laundry, moved to the Keller Williams building, and then settled into its current location. The Bargain Basket also expanded its space by adding a jewelry room, which used to be a hair salon.  

There is a home décor section that offers great selection of pottery, ceramics and glasswareThe Bargain Basket also carries materials for craft projects, specialty pieces for staging a home or condo, and essential items for seasonal renters. They have clothing for men and children, and both boutique and regular women’s clothing. The store features an abundance of artwork, linenskitchenware, seasonal holiday items, toys, jewelry, hats, purses, shoes and more! 

According to Samantha, October through January is the peak time for donations, and they receive some really great items. She would like to thank the public for being such avid donors with great merchandise so that “we are able to give back to the community.” Donations are gladly accepted at the back door, Monday through Saturday, between 9 AM and 3 PM. 


A table setting of assorted dinnerware.


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