Best Stores With A Cause In Washington DC

March 19, 2013 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Marthas Table Via Facebook

Shopping is made easier when purchases also mean money put toward beneficial non-profits. As the capital of the United States, Washington, DC leads by example and is home to many important non-profit organizations and worthy charities. DC is also home to a budding and quickly growing fashion community, so frequenting thrift shops for unique finds is a common occurrence among stylish residents. Take note of these five local shops that give back, and shop for a cause – you may feel a tad less guilty about putting a dent in your wallet.

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Buffalo Exchange

1318 14th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20005

(202) 299-9148

Buffalo Exchange is a hip, trendy vintage and used clothing store with two locations in DC: Georgetown and 14th Street. The store does not use plastic bags at checkout. Instead, the founders created a fundraising plan called “Tokens for Bags.” Buffalo Exchange hands out tokens to customers who go bag-less or bring in their own reusable bag. Customers can then donate the token, worth five cents, to a local charity of their choice. The charities associated with the 14th Street store include Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, American Red Cross – National Capital Region and Breaking the Cycle. The charities associated with the Georgetown store include Friends of National Zoo, National Gallery of Art and Environmental and Energy Study Institute. Visit Buffalo Exchange with bag in hand and make a contribution to the organization of your choice.

Related: Best Vintage Stores In DC

Goodwill of Greater Washington

2200 S. Dakota Ave. N.E.
Washington, DC 20018
(202) 636-4225

Since the grand opening in 1935, the Goodwill of Greater Washington has provided tens of thousands of jobs to people in the DC area with disabilities and disadvantages. This particular location is both a retail store and a donation center. All donations, cash or goods, contribute to job training programs in green construction and career navigation for the disadvantaged and disabled. The Goodwill in DC holds an annual fashion show, “The Fashion of Goodwill,” encouraging people to visit Goodwill for fashionable contemporary and vintage clothing. According to the store’s website, “Goodwill of Greater Washington’s mission is to educate, train, employ and place people with disadvantages and disabilities, creating dignity, a stronger workforce and a more vital community.”

Martha’s Outfitters

2114 14th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 328-6608, ext. 210

Martha’s Table is a non-profit charity that works to provide assistance and resolutions to those struggling with poverty. The organization relies heavily on volunteers and donations to feed, educate and clothe the less fortunate in communities throughout DC. Martha’s Outfitters, started in 2004, is a U Street thrift store with designer brands at extremely affordable price points. Proceeds go directly to the efforts of Martha’s Table, which aids over 10,000 people a year. Martha’s Outfitters shoppers are often regulars, as stock is regularly changing.

Montgomery County Thrift Shop

7125 Wisconsin Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 654-0063

Serving the area for six decades, Montgomery County Thrift Shop in Bethesda is like nothing else in the region. The shop, employed by caring volunteers, features a wide array of eclectic home goods, books and clothing for men and women of all ages. Sunday and Monday are discount days – plan accordingly. All profits benefit the Montgomery County Thrift Shop Association, comprised of the following Montgomery County companies and charities: Mental Health Association, Federation of Women’s Clubs, National Council of Jewish Women, Planned Parenthood and Suburban Hospital Auxiliary.

Related: Best Thrift Stores In The DC Area

Fort Myer Thrift Shop

224 Forrest Circle
Fort Myer, VA 22211
(703) 527-0664

While the Fort Meyer Thrift Shop is located on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, those interested in shopping do not need a military ID to enter. There are two buildings with donated goods. The main building has primarily housewares and furniture. The Red Door Boutique has a higher-end selection of clothing, jewelry and various vintage artifacts. The Army Officers Wives Club of the Greater Washington Area (AOWCGWA) runs the thrift shop. Proceeds go to education and charitable activities within the military community and the AOWCGWA has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for scholarships and grants.

Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and a minor in Journalism. Her work can be found at