Welcome to Athey Creek Middle School Garage Sale Post Event Recap
Short Version: After having to reconfigure the entire process, we made it faster, cheaper and even a little easier to run - we raised over $15,000!!(everyone's next question - is that good? YES! To put it in perspective, GS's of this magnitude will consider themselves a success at $7-8K, excellent at $10K, ergo Athey is AWESOME!).
The entire event is dependent on two things. The first is the generosity of our donors. Every donation adds up! The second, the generosity of our volunteers with their time, a record number of volunteers responded to the call for help. We are so grateful for every one of you!
Long Version - Why you should be proud!
Garage Sales are more than just selling treasures -
Let's face it, every school, parent group, sports team, etc has to raise money and we're all working with the same community and resources. Four years ago the Athey PTSA chose a fundraiser where we didn't have to ask for money, just donated castoff's. We chose the garage sale because it recycles, repurposes and it raises money while using the entire community.
But what happens is more than just raising money. When people first see the garage sale they are struck with how large it is and most can only imagine the number of hours involved to pull it off. "Can't you do something that takes less time and earns this much money?", is a common question. Possibly, BUT we do more than raise money. We help everyone clean out their clutter, we give them easy ways to volunteer for their school, and we have a lot (seriously A LOT) of fun but there's something MORE, unexpected, that happens at the sale.
Every single year, throughout the process of the garage sale you find out how much you help the community. During the sale you'll see the little kid hug a stuffed Yoda, find out it's only a dollar and fist pumps the air yelling YES!! You've made his day, possibly his week. You'll see people putting together bags and bags of clothes and toys to send to El Salvador and Nigeria to help those less fortunate. You'll hear people say this is the way they can afford to clothe their family, by coming to our sale where so much is just $1. You'll have a little kid tug on your shirt and say - I'm only allowed one treasure - where's your best stuff? This year, before we opened, we had a line around the back of the school, many have been here in previous years and made it a point to come again this year. We're creating a tradition in the community AND making a difference.
One older gentleman stood in the room, arms folded, saw me in my lovely garage sale apron and said - "I saw your sign said 400+ families, I doubt that". I explained how many kids we had here and that we had the community donating as well. He said, "Bah, Parents don't help, they don't get involved, there's no way the school got parents to donate like this". Aside from pointing out the obvious and asking, well where did all this stuff come from then? I just replied, "Parents not only donated but they are running this entire show. We dreamed big and asked for 138 volunteer hours to pull it off and not only was every hour filled, but parents were coming in for extra shifts and staying longer. You live in a community of VERY involved parents." His only reply was, "Huh, I guess times have changed." It was a great opportunity to change someone's mind and make them feel good about where they lived, in a caring community.
What I'm trying to say in a very long winded way - your donations raised money but more importantly they touched and even changed the lives of people. You might not have had a use for the items you donated but for others they were the answer to their needs. Every toy donated is bringing joy to another child's life. Outgrown clothes are making their way to help the less fortunate. After we were done with the sale we continued to give. The Clackamas Clothes Closet took the leftover clothes to help kids have clothes for school, books were picked out prior to the sale by Mrs. Heaton as necessary additions to go immediately into circulation at our school library as well as the PE department found exercise and office equipment that they needed and then everything else went on a truck to GoodWill for further distribution.
Your donations either made the school money for teacher grants or they made a difference to someone's life!
For that, we are forever indebted to the families that gave of their belongings so generously! You all should be VERY proud of yourselves!!
And now for the Thank You's!
First off - thank you for reading this far! There are a few thank you's that must be said. I will try very hard not to forget anyone but it's been a long 4 1/2 months so I apologize in advance! It truly takes a village to put something like this on and every single person's help made it possible!
**Thank you to everyone who joined the PTSA and donated to the Annual Fund - have you seen the new Athey Creek sign that the money raised purchased? It's kind of amazing!!**
1. Sponsors - Erin Duffy and Allie Jensen were the masterminds behind the idea to use the shipping containers - to now be called the PTSA Campers. Norcan, the shipping container company, very generously waived the monthly fee when they heard why we wanted them. Haggen's response to donation requests was - we say yes to schools! Bridgetown Coffee donated and set up the coffee concession stand early Saturday morning (and taught the concession kids the proper way to fill coolers with soda and ice - good life lessons!).
2. The core committee, Joanne Masters, Kate Hoots, Allie Jensen, Shari Winters, and Margaret Koch. These ladies met me every Wednesday morning at 8 am to collect donations, sort and box where we talked out the whole process. Then they worked of the week of the sale, between illnesses, single parenting, children's events, everyone came as often as they could and felt guilty when they missed more than 20 min. What you accomplished is staggering! We did have a lot of fun in between and I will really miss my Wednesday (but not the closing of the containers). There are no words that can express the debt we owe you for your time and energy! See you in 8 months!
3. Second circle - These are the people who just showed up one Wednesday and never left - we kinda love you for it! Jim Kamikawa, Brianna Currey, Julia Henry, Connie Richardson, Kathleen Jensen, Dana Callaghan, Sarah Hawkins - fresh eyes on everything helped us stay organized and your positive attitudes kept us energized.
4. Teachers - Mr. Berg and Ms. Bray - they scoured the school for storage space, they gave up their classrooms for the sale itself, they gave up class time to move in the sale AND they were in the containers themselves helping to unload. They are ALWAYS supportive of the sale and we love them for it.
Mr. Washington - there are no words. Just hug that man. He worked the entire weekend = no days off until next weekend, to help make this happen. He was front and center the entire time, always asking for something to do, always with a smile. He is never allowed to retire.
Joyce Liden and our front desk staff - Joyce donated items every week! The whole front office collected bags and boxes for us, looked out for problems, made sure everything was reserved and fielded tons of questions. They encouraged people to donate every week and were our biggest cheerleaders.
5. Volunteers (in no particular order, just as they are listed on VolunteerSpot :) - We have a huge list which is wonderful! So many turned out and every single hour you gave was deeply appreciated!! Brianna Currey, Allie Jensen, Dana Callaghan, Mike Callaghan, Vicki Eastman, Marijean Johnson, Lori Dierckes, Shari Winters, Karen Wied, Shelly Ellett, Joann Masters, Kate Hoots, Lisa Ruben, Connie Richardson, Carey Russell, Allie Jensen, Kathleen Jensen, Pam Lambert, Rachel Stevenson, Dana Callaghan, Elaine Cozart, Ivana Tence, Margaret Koch, Julie Matthiessen, Ruth Burk, Ulrike Woltjer, Gretchen Burthey, Laurisa Stubblefield, Jim Kamikawa, Jennifer Tabor, Stephanie Stewart, Erin Duffy, Jane Bernasconi, Julie Pope, Kathy Smithpeter, Lisa Durbin, Kris Olsen, Amanda Curdy, Betty Reynolds, Ryan Curdy, Andrea Shultz, Linda Siegel, Karin Skloss, Gita Howard, Suzanne Evans, Nicky Hildebrant, Erika Vincent and Joel and Amy Sebastian (thanks for leading the clean up charge in the truck!) (and more! I know more came that hadn't signed up thank you!!!)
6. Ron Moser and Nancy Bettinski - our evening janitorial staff who kept us company while we set up, helped answer so many questions, just lovely to work with!
7. PTSA Kids - Let's face it some of you love volunteering some just know it as a fact of life because of your parents choices. Anthony Koch, Meg and Beth Hoots, Andre, Brigitte and Ethan Chenevert - these kids stayed for most if not all of the garage sale (and helped leading up to the sale too!). From running concessions, to helping the Hold section to just lugging and toting for customers with full hands you stayed without complaint (esp after the pizza arrived) and were cheerful with everyone who asked you questions.
Last but not least our families - core committee husbands esp. They watched the kids, brought us meals, lugged and toted boxes for customers, and helped with all the heavy lifting on clean up day. I do have to specially thank my husband Ryan, who stayed the entire sale from start to finish (despite a cracked hot water heater discovered Saturday morning), lugged and toted boxes, greeted people at the door, picked up signs, kept an eye on concessions, picked up pizza for volunteers and most of all, went with me to every craigslist ad meet up (there's nothing creepy about asking someone to meet you at a shipping container to pick up an item right?) - he's a keeper.