Other items are rejected by most. At Holy Family, vases linger and bowling balls have been banned “after one rolled off the table and almost hit somebody,” Scheele recalls.
In this Internet age, encyclopedia sets get left behind at St. Louis. Old TVs (“you know, the kind that double as furniture”) can’t even be given away at Batesville Vineyard.
Unusual items have traded hands. At St. Louis, “we had a car donated to us that we sold through the rummage sale.” No one could identify the purpose of “a visor for sunglasses, but yet it wasn’t ... On Saturday when we had our $1 bag day, it was gone,” according to Schroeder. The Batesville Vineyard minister recalls getting a small collection of ancient computer monitors and a nice table saw.
Leftovers end up in a variety of spots. St. John’s volunteers have given towels to animal shelters. “We give some stuff to nursing homes,” such as lift chairs and knickknacks for bingo prizes. Books and videos get carted to the library.
Holy Family has a deal with Chapel Missionary Baptist Church of Metamora. “They come and take everything and have a free giveaway at the end of summer. They are so grateful.”
A Hill-Rom truck transports St. Louis’ unsold items to St. Vincent de Paul, a Cincinnati Catholic charity. Batesville Vineyard’s remainders go to Goodwill.
In addition to letting cash-strapped residents buy cheap stuff or grab it for free, the sales have benefitted those who need help the most.
Last year St. John’s volunteers learned of a previously homeless family living nearby. “They had nothing,” Schroeder remembers. “We gave them a rocking chair, lamps, a couch, bathroom rugs, towels and cooking utensils ... before the sale ever started.”
A few years ago, a pregnant woman whose husband was just laid off longingly looked at sale items she could not afford. Schroeder learned of her situation and discreetly gave her a bassinet, baby clothes and diapers. The sale coordinator ran into the mother and baby later and the woman said, “‘I’ll never forget you people.’ That really makes it worthwhile.”
- Batesville Christian Church Benefit Yard Sale, May 30-June 1
- St. Louis Rummage Sale, June 8-10
- Holy Family Super Rummage Sale, July 27-29
- Batesville Vineyard Community Church Free Yard Sale, Sept. 15
- St. John’s United Church of Christ Schoolhouse Rummage Sale, Oct. 4-6