Bird in Hand Consignment Shop: More than collectibles

by Stacia Friedman
Posted 3/23/23

The Bird in Hand shop is a place where area residents consign family heirlooms, start their own collections, or shop for gifts. It also is a nonprofit that supports community organizations. 

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Bird in Hand Consignment Shop: More than collectibles


The Bird in Hand shop is a place where area residents consign family heirlooms, start their own collection of vintage treasures, or shop for unique gifts they can't find elsewhere, but fans of this charming store may not know that it’s also a nonprofit that has supported community organizations since it was founded in 1975. 

The consignment shop has supported early childhood development programs such as Team Children, Awbury Arboretum’s summer camp, the Chestnut Hill Free Library and the community’s Garden District Fund.

When the pandemic started, the nonprofit began focusing on food insecurity and community outreach, donating to organizations such as Philabundance, Meals on Wheels and Food Moxie, said Sandra Patty, the nonprofit’s executive director.

Last month, Bird in Hand continued its history of community involvement when Patty presented a $10,000 donation to Mary Kay Meeks-Hank, executive director of Face to Face in Germantown, an organization that provides services to families experiencing poverty. 

“This is unbelievable,” Meeks-Hank said at the presentation. “I was expecting a donation of $1,000."

The contribution is the largest that Bird in Hand has donated in the nonprofit’s history, Patty said.

Meeks-Hanks said the donation will be used to continue Face to Face’s mission of offering “a place of hospitality and mutuality wherein guests, volunteers, and staff alike are transformed.”

That means the contribution will help with legal, housing, social and health services including behavioral health programming, along with nutritious meals, bathing facilities, and an educational equity program focused on helping families access high quality education and successful outcomes for their children, Meeks-Hanks said. 

Face to Face started in 1984 when members of Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church began cooking hot meals for their Germantown neighbors who were food insecure. Face to Face, which was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1996, is now located in the community center, adjacent to the church, at 123 E. Price Street. 

The community center dates back to 1884, but today it is a welcoming space adorned with stunning murals. Members of its advisory board include Ron Pete, owner of Chestnut Hill Hotel, Robert Elfant of Elfant Wissahickon Realtors and developer Ken Weinstein.

“The work that Face to Face does is very impressive,” said Irene Watson, a volunteer at Bird in Hand. “I recommend taking a tour; it is quite worth it.” 

Back at Bird in Hand, the purchase of a piece of crystal stemware or vintage clothing doesn’t just end up in the consignee’s pocket. It may just help a youngster gain confidence and stability. And, that includes the shop’s other unique finds in fine china, crystal, and silver, original art, fine prints, jewelry, textiles and furniture.

“When I’m having a dinner party or hosting Thanksgiving, I love to add tableware items from Bird in Hand,” said Ann Nevel, retail advocate at the Chestnut Hill Business Association. “I recently purchased eight vintage Wedgewood soup bowls that added a flourish of old world elegance to the table. The shop is a great resource and a beloved, legacy business in Chestnut Hill.”

Unlike other consignment shops, Bird in Hand does not accept “everything,” which is how they maintain a reputation with antique dealers and collectors. 

“When Freeman’s Auctions has a client who wishes to liquidate their estate, they often refer them to us,” Patty said. In addition to consignments, Bird in Hand also welcomes donations, which are tax deductible. 

Want to be involved? Bird in Hand is currently seeking volunteer staff and board members. 

Bird in Hand Consignment Shop is at  9 W. Highland Ave. in Chestnut Hill.