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One-Time Ridgewood Charity Gift Shop Celebrates 50 Years In Service

From left: Gift Shop Depot Co-Directors Linda Mendrys and Eileen Negrycz; Midland Park Mayor Bud O’Hagan; Children’s Aid and Family Services President & CEO Jerry Binney. Photo Credit: CAFS
Boys living in one of Children’s Aid and Family Services’ therapeutic group homes celebrate Halloween. Photo Credit: CAFS
The Depot's past and present co-directors. Photo Credit: CAFS
Midland Park's Gift Shop Depot, on Prospect Street. Photo Credit: CAFS
Halloween-themed items at Midland Park's Gift Shop Depot. Photo Credit: CAFS

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — A charity gift shop that first opened in Ridgewood as a way to bolster a local children's aid organization celebrated its 50th anniversary in Midland Park.

Gift Shop Depot was launched by a group of women opened the gift shop in 1965 at the Ridgewood Train Station. 

The Depot moved to Ho-Ho-Kus in the 1970s — where it remained for two years before moving to its current Midland Park location — and has since pulled in more than $3 million for Children's Aid and Family Services (CAFS).

"We have two missions," co-director Eileen Negrycz said. "The main one is to help CAFS, but the other is to support local artists and American craftspeople."

Handmade soaps, baby blankets and locally-crafted pottery adorns shelves in The Depot — open Monday through Saturday.

While The Depot is one of 14 run by the Federation of Women's Exchange, it's the only one that's completely volunteer-based, Negrycz said.

 "The Depot is a place for women who want to do something and they’re working full time," she said. "They still can do something that gives back to the community," 

One of the 140 volunteers — a businesswoman in Manhattan's financial district — told Negrycz she's always wanted to own a shop. Volunteering at The Depot, however, has given her an opportunity to do just that.

"There are so many outlets that need help," Negrycz said. "We’re still abel to provide that service and help the agency."

CLICK HERE for more on CAFS.

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