Second-hand store in Merchtem has moved to larger premises


“We give things that we can offer to Merchtem residents at low prices a second life,” says Welfare Councilor Julie Asselman (LVB, Open Vld). “Our residents can also bring in materials here. Even the material that can no longer serve De Kast goes to the less fortunate via the Helping Hand. In emergencies, we also supply clothing and household supplies to Merchtem families who have suddenly lost everything due to force majeure – such as fire.”

The story of the second-hand shop in Merchtem started more than twenty years ago in a garage next to the administrative center of OCMW. “That was very limited at the time, because there was little space,” says the alderman. “Then the second-hand shop, which works under the wings of the OCMW, moved to a building at Gasthuisstraat 16. Later it moved again to an adjacent terraced house at Gasthuisstraat 18. That building, where the second-hand shop was housed in a kind of hangar without daylight, is now being publicly sold by the municipality.”

“We have now moved the second-hand shop to the old mother house on the site next to the library,” the alderman concludes. “There is much more space and light there. It is also an economically more interesting place, because it is located on an access road.”

The operation of De Kast is made possible by ten volunteers. Leona De Troch (74), who works at the cash register, was there from the beginning 23 years ago. “I started here alone in a garage next to the OCMW,” says Leona. “You can’t store that much there. In the beginning there were small pieces: clothes, shoes, vests, underwear, and so on.”

“The success of the second-hand store grew. Volunteers came and my husband Jan Jacobs (74) also came to help.” “I have been helping for about sixteen years,” says Jan. “I got into it through my wife. In the past, there were also pieces of furniture and there were three men to move the heavy pieces.”

“I am now the only man here among all those women, but I can hold my own. What exactly am I doing here? I keep an eye on things to make sure nothing disappears outside. Volunteer work is a social event in a great atmosphere. Everyone works for a good cause: helping people and giving things a second life. There is plenty of work: checking, sorting, putting away, keeping the store open, supervising, you name it.”


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