The odds may have been stacked against the Rummage Sale this year, but according to co-coordinator Cris Guthrie, “We have had perhaps the best year ever in Rummage, or at least the best in quite a few years.” Despite an earlier-than-usual sale date that left little time after the July 4th holiday to sort the many generous donations for the two days of sales, revenues were up 15 percent compared to 2017, which were also higher than 2016.

In addition to money raised, the Blue Bag program (in which underwritten bags are filled by representatives from Outreach agencies) had a record-breaking year: 130 bags were provided to 78 people from 13 agencies, according to Blue Bag chair Laurie Peterson.

Though it took many volunteers and many hours for the Rummage Sale to have the success it did, Cris highlights a few people in particular: “Gail Pascus’ hard work on finding homes for leftovers meant we once again did not need a dumpster, saving both money and decreasing environmental impact. Disbursement of our leftovers to various agencies also helped even more people than purely the money raised.” Cris also acknowledges the actions of one of the paid employees, Drew Patton, who responded calmly and effectively to a medical emergency at the sale. It was “truly a remarkable response by this young man.”

Co-coordinator Jenny Zervas shares this gratitude and added “It was a Herculean effort by the entire crew and organization. I know we are all exhausted, but look what we as a church, as a community, as Christian outreach managed to accomplish by working together for our fellow man. I could not be more proud and humbled at once.” Jenny further referred to co-coordinator Hope Poor as “a Trojan” for her hard work and dedication.

Hope Poor, co-coordinator wants to credit Jenny as well as Gail, “who have found agencies for donation, posted free furniture online, and personally made countless trips to Goodwill and other centers. Furthermore, Cris finds a way to sell unusual  items such as musical instruments by contacting dealers. Rummage liquidation is more trying because the sale is over and while everyone is exhilarated they are also exhausted. There are no volunteers around to help them.” What’s more, Hope wants to applaud Beth Fritz for putting together our first Rummage Fest. “She had a vision of the whole concept, put together all the graphics, invitations, signs, and buttons, brought her own colorful tablecloths (and took them home to wash), provided centerpieces, and dealt with the tent company and food trucks. In addition to all those hours she spent, she also donated the band, the salad buffet, and the artisanal cheese platter. Everyone remarked on the delicious food!” I think the party will only get bigger and better as word gets out.

Bev Kirk, volunteer and head of worker food and signs, agrees. Speaking of the many volunteers who spent so much time and energy, with so much love and compassion: “The world is better today because of you and your hard work!”

Vivian Vahlberg, communications, gave a special shout-out to “Joby Berman who not only managed the vital central sorting operation and the Brand New department but also supervised the outstanding team of young paid workers who provided the muscle of the whole operation.”

Hope was brimming with gratitude while praising Vivian, “Special thanks goes to our invaluable communications wizard, Vivian who was the glue that held us all together.” Joby seconded her thoughts noting that, “Communications are vital to making any job successful. Her emoji decorated emails, enews letters, blogs, bulletin notices, press releases, and incredible organization skills kept us all on target with getting out the message to the community.”