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1363 N. Western Avenue
Lake Forest IL 60045


Forest & Found is a nonprofit community thrift store located in Lake Forest, IL that features good quality, second hand goods and produces a cycle of benefits for donors, shoppers and the causes the community invests in


We Are Natural Recyclers

Diana Durkes


When I was first married, my mother-in-law sometimes sent her cleaning lady to our apartment, which I tried hard not to take personally. One Saturday morning when the cleaner showed up with dust rag and mop, I was surprised to learn her family operated the town dump, a large mound of metal and tires near Grand Detour, IL.

Not ever community has a solid waste recycling center, but Lake Forest does, and I've noticed most people refer to it as the town dump, too. Stories about what's been tossed and found have drifted over the front counter at F&F, some of them bordering on urban legend.

I've heard about a glittering chandelier that just needed a little hosing off. And a set of outdoor furniture worthy of Veranda magazine.

There's the back-in-the-day story about a Bears rookie who staked out the dump between training sessions. He'd load up his car with stuff to send home and sell, a small hedge fund in case the football thing was short lived.

And the local guy who scavenged bits of this and that to build a part-time income by refurbishing household appliances he found at the dump.

Are these stories real? I often think the underlying theme in these anecdotes is our latent hunter-gather gene. That we're natural recyclers and have been so since the dawn of time (my daughter's favorite phrase to start an essay.) When we find ourselves in junk shops, thrift stores and yard sales, the scavenger tendency clicks on and our eyes start to scan for something useful or shiny. It's all part of the genetic program. Evidence: who doesn't like a good junk hunt, the thrill of finding a diamond in the rough?

Items that are not worthy of repair or recycling belong in the town dump. Useful and shiny stuff should enter the state of secondhand.

So here's my advertising message:

Before you contribute to the landfill or dump, consider giving furniture, lighting, golf clubs and other worthy items that you no longer want to Forest & Found. Not only are you recycling useful things, your donation benefits our two charities—Bernies’ Book Bank and A Safe Place. Call us if you have questions about what you can drop off at our thrift store at 1363 N. Western Avenue, Lake Forest. 847-482-1705.