And the road goes on forever...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Volunteer Extraordinaire

Things have been slow for Marc lately so he stepped graciously to the plate when asked for help beyond the ordinary by Helping Hands. Every year in December and again in February, Helping Hands throws the mother of all yard sales—proceeds from which are their main source of funding. Helping Hands provides many services to seniors in the Foothills area, and does so without charge to the senior. I often volunteer as I have time, by doing medical transport, taking those who can no longer drive, into town for doctor’s appointments. I’ve even taken those with impaired eyesight grocery shopping on occasion. We obviously get no pay for this, or any fuel stipend either, but we do get the satisfaction of knowing that we make a huge difference in the lives of the elderly in our neighborhood.

The setup for the giant yard sale starts about nine days in advance of the sale date, with the first step being erection of all the chain link fencing surrounding the sale area, then transporting and set up of all manner of tables and clothing racks. Following this comes the unloading of many sea containers full of literally tons of donated goods. This gets transported to the site via small U Haul trucks and even the Marines help out. Marc spent the better part of three days engaged in this end of it before the unpacking even began.

Once unpacking begins, the ranks of volunteers swell (about 150 come out to get the job done in four days) as the categories of sale items to be unpacked and priced is mind-boggling. If you can think of it, it is probably somewhere in all that stuff and will be for sale! I had room in my schedule to donate one and a half days to unpacking and hanging woman’s clothing but Marc truly went above and beyond by not only devoting an entire week of full days, but he also hauled our little fifth wheel to the site, where he stayed all night playing night watchman as well.

Beyond the satisfaction of helping such a great organization, the biggest perk for the volunteers at the sale is the chance to “shop” daily (ahead of the public opening) for every day volunteered. The volunteers get the best of the bargains, the most unique, the newest, the most pristine of the merchandise and all at bargain basement pricing that is a hallmark of this giant sale. We scored on so many nice items, including an outdoor patio set consisting of a metal settee and two large rocking chairs for $36, several Griswold cast iron frying pans for $3/each and a Henckel knife set for $3 which retails for close to $150. Clothing is beyond belief, some of it brand new, running about 25/cents an item. And fun? Yeah, we’ve got lots of that as well!

The following pictures show the opening to the public, which begins bright and early on a Friday with the sale continuing Saturday. By Saturday pricing is knocked down to half, so even though the numbers are slightly less, both days draw huge crowds and at the end very little is left for volunteers to pack up. If you’re in the area and need something, be sure and come out and support such a wonderful organization. The next sale date is February 17th and 18th. Of course, if you want first dibs on merchandise, do your part, and volunteer!