There is a great place for junk I’ve found which is not too far from our house. It’s called Emmaus Brie and it seems to be epi-center of French junk – set on an old farm property. If you live in VT, it’s very similar to ReSOURCE and if you don’t live in VT, think of the Salvation Army, with a training program for it’s workers. In this case it’s workers are formerly homeless or drug addicted individuals who are learning appliance repair and retail skills while working at the farm.
So what seems like a common concept in the US is considered very innovative here. Since the government structure is so different here, the concept of “charity” is also different. There are not so many worthy causes to support here and a LOT less non-profits looking for funding. I think part of the reason for this is that the government provides so much more to it’s citizens (great healthcare, great maternity leave, discounts on train/bus tickets for families, and the list goes on……)
Here is a sample of what is offered to women around the birth of a child:
France offers all women workers a paid, job -protected maternity leave six weeks before and 10 weeks after the births of the first two children, eight weeks before and 18 weeks after the birth of the third child, 34 weeks (12 prenatally) for twins and 42 weeks (24 prenatally) for triplets or more. Maternity leave, pre and postnatally, is mandatory.
At the end of maternity leave, the mother or father can take parental leave until the child reaches the age of three, with entitlement to re-integration into the previous or a similar job. Parents receive a parental leave allowance if they interrupt their employment, totally.
See what I mean? Nice.
Sorry for the tangent. So what’s the big deal about Emmaus Brie in particular? Apparently Emmaus is an international organization working on 4 continents to help formerly homeless people in need. All of the profits from this organization go back to supporting it’s mission. It’s also the best place I’ve found to buy some quality French junk that I can feel especially good about.
So here’s the scene:
It’s Sunday afternoon and Tim decides to take the kids for a bike ride. Hmmm. What should I do? I guess I’ll take a drive to Emmaus Brie to support their cause. After I arrive, I walk into the first part of the glassware section and what is sitting on the top of a pile of French dishes?
Here it is:
A lovely mint condition souvenir from someone’s trip to my home turf. What are the chances? Ok, maybe the chances are good that someone from this area has visited the popular US tourist destination of Cape Cod, but I still think it’s amazing that I found this.
I had no choice but to buy it. Only €.50 later it was mine.
When I got home, I was so excited about my plate, I pulled it out of the bag proudly. Tim’s first reaction? “It’s cool that it’s from Cape Cod, but don’t you think it’s pretty ugly?”
Apparently beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.