Neighbor to Neighbor supplies needed items at no charge


November 27, 2017

Ian Minielly/Daily Globe

SHELVES OF puzzles in Neighbor to Neighbor Free Store in Mercer Wednesday. The puzzles move quickly and are constantly being swapped according to Dan Schwanke.


MERCER, Wis. - About five years ago, according to Dan Schwanke, his wife, Kitty, had an idea to open a second-hand store where people could donate their gently used clothing, kitchen, or household goods and pass them on to another person or family in need.

Schwanke said, "If you need something, come and get it."

The hours for the Neighbor to Neighbor Free Store are Saturdays from 10-2 p.m., but Schwanke said they open the store for people outside of those hours frequently. There is no charge, "if a person is unable to pay, don't," in the words of Schwanke.

The store is not a money-making enterprise, but an effort to make peoples lives better by providing things they need. While reviewing the multiple shelves of puzzles, Schwanke said they have a woman who comes and takes new puzzles frequently, so there is a lot of turnover in their puzzle section.

Schwanke said they get as many as 35 to 40 people through the store during the regular four hours of operation. Whatever stays in the shop a couple of months, they take and donate to the Goodwill and when they get sheets and bedding that is ripped or soiled, they take those items to the animal rehabilitation center in Woodruff.

Neighbor to Neighbor receives a lot of customers from the Ironwood and Lac du Flambeau regions and all parts in between. Because of its selection of infant items, they have been able to fully outfit some families with children who were in desperate need, according to Schwanke.

The furniture is currently piling up in the Church of the Nazarene, where they have end tables, beds, coffee tables and much more, all free or by donation.

Schwanke said if someone cannot wait until the regular hours and needs to come by the shop, call 715-776-0192 and ask for Kitty.


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