Left to right: Rhiana Medina, MVMC; Sara Hinck, BEACON; Laura Malone, Arches Education Center; Trisha Hedin, Arches Education Center; Michele Onderko, BEACON; Stephanie Dahlstrom, BEACON; Jody Ellis, RSVP; Emily Neihaus, Community Rebuilds; Jessica Retka, Community Rebuilds; Mel Gilles, WabiSabi; Jane Sherman, Moab Teen Center; Jaylynn Hawks, Seekhaven; Sarah Lindquist, Seekhaven; Alison Lerch, Canyonlands Community Recycling; Jenn Oestreich, MARC; Kaitlin Harris, Youth Garden Project; Cora Shonie, Native American Club; Barbara Hicks, Humane Society; Delite Primus, Youth Garden Project; Michelle Blackburn, KZMU; Allyson O'Connor, Moab Free Health Clinic and Noelle Hilmer Tripp, Moab Free Health Clinic. [Sallie Hodges/ Moab Sun News]

WabiSabi keeps tons of stuff out of the landfill.


In 2012 the non-profit thrift store received 350 tons on donations that were then resold or recycled.

“WabiSabi has always been the clearinghouse of resource redistribution,” said WabiSabi executive director Mel Gilles. “Donations are increasing and that is a good thing.”

WabiSabi also works with Canyonlands Community Recycling to do electronics and battery recycling drives twice a year: Once in November and again in May.

“We were able to keep 6.8 tons of e-waste and batteries out of the landfill in one year,” Gilles said.

The money from the sale of donated items at the thrift stores goes back into the community through partnerships and grants.

WabiSabi celebrated their 13 non-profit partners for 2013 at a banquet on Jan. 28. Patrons of the thrifts stores, both those who make donations and purchases, can show their support for their partner of choice through votes. Those votes translate into funds to support the community organization from the thrift stores sales.

“The biggest feedback we get from our partners is that there is a family atmosphere and a feeling of community that is getting stronger and stronger,” Gilles said.

She said she saw several of the non-profit members communicating, building relationships and coalitions.

“The non-profit network is growing and expanding and getting much stronger. They understand one another’s roles and coming together for the work,” Gilles said. “Because the non-profit network is growing and becoming more stable, they are connecting with one another.”

WabiSabi has also been providing community meals through their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, as well as their Sunday brunches.

Mandy Turner, program director said the number of people served is increasing.

“We did 725 Sunday brunches in 2011. We did 933 this year,” Turner said. “We’re seeing growth in everything.”

That growth may be translated into a new building.

WabiSabi is considering finding a new space to handle the increased donations and store supplies for community meals, as well as hold items for material donations for non-profits, churches and schools for special projects.

“Wabi will need a bigger building to do that. We’re looking at the components and qualities that will be needed. Do we need a kitchen? Do we need space to house non-profits that don’t have space? These are questions we’re starting to ask,” Gilles said. “We’re trying to determine how that space could handle the growth of our community, not just for us, but for the rest of the non-profits.”

WabiSabi is also providing the Make a Difference grants this year for individuals or organizations that could use $750 to fund creative projects. The deadline is March 15.

“We try to serve as many different kinds of people in the community as we can,” Gilles said. “We try to keep the net cast wide.”