The 3000 Club — A nonprofit most known for Market on the Move, where families can get 60 pounds of produce for $10, has opened a 14,000-square-foot warehouse at 250 S. Toole Ave.
The warehouse is outfitted with The 3000 Club’s new thrift store, recycling centers and computer-reclamation program. It also serves as a Market on the Move event location.
Other parts of The 3000 Club include its medical reclamation project — in which it redistributes donated medical supplies to the needy — and providing disaster aid to communities.
“It’s really going to be a progression to what we’ve been doing,” said Ethel Luzario, president and CEO of The 3000 Club. “In a nutshell, it’s like whatever donations we get, we will restore it to reuse, and if it can’t be reused, we will recycle. The idea is that nothing will ever go into the landfill.”
Not even produce goes into the landfill. Once volunteers take out what’s not fit for human consumption, it is either set aside for compost or donated to people who need it to feed their animals, said Pamela Boyer, director of operations and supply management. “It might be outdated for human consumption, but it’s perfect for animals.”
The 3000 Club originated in Phoenix, but in order for the organization to effectively reclaim vegetables for Market on the Move and medical items for emergency relief kits, it needed a warehouse here, Boyer said. The Tucson warehouse is about twice the size of the Phoenix location, she added.
The thrift shop — MOMers Thrift Discount — is the “reuse” part of the warehouse tagline “reuse, restore, recycle,” Boyer said. “The thrift shop has everything in it — some clothing, books, household items, furniture. It’s a thrift shop, so it’s reasonably priced.”
Donations of items are being accepted at the thrift shop. “We take pretty much anything,” Boyer said. The organization is also seeking volunteers to help at the new warehouse and at Market on the Move events.
Money made through the thrift store goes back into the organization to use for its programs.
The 3000 Club’s computer reclamation program will be run out of the Tucson warehouse as well. Computers will be refurbished and made available to underprivileged children for a $20 donation. Once a protocol is established, computers will be requested through a child’s school.
The flagship of The 3000 Club is Market on the Move. The produce is donated from produce brokers in Nogales, Sonora, who would have thrown it away otherwise because it is either not the right shape, demand for it has stopped or the produce broker needs more space in the warehouse.
The 3000 Club rescues any lot of produce that is at least 70 percent good, meaning if there were 100 tomatoes, and at least 70 of them are good.
“Just imagine if we can actually drop off a full truckload, which holds about 36,000 pounds of produce, which can benefit up to 600 families,” Luzario said. “Then imagine if you are able to share with two or three families. The impact is huge.”