A pile of junk in the house has the potential to accomplish a lot of good in a community. Yet some people balk at the idea of setting up a yard sale. They cringe at the thought of going through their stuff, hauling items outside and sitting out there for hours, only to possibly be insulted by nickel and dime offers. The truth is that by tapping into a community tag sale, everyone seems to benefit; the takers, the givers and beyond.
This past weekend of Waterford held a successful community tag sale. They were encouraged by their first tag sale last Fall. A few weeks ago, they invited congregants and the general public to lease a spot as a tag sale vendor or donate items that were still in good working condition toward the tag sale. Their vendor fee served as a donation to the Temple, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which actively supports other important institutions in our area, including the Habitat for Humanity, the New London Soup Kitchen and the Interfaith Food Locker. Congregants who were willing to donate all their proceeds to the Temple did not need to pay the vendor fee.
The beauty of the community tag sale was that there were many hands involved. Each tag saler was responsible for setting up his or her own table in a designated section of the Temple's parking lot. The tag saler cars showed up. Items were quickly disembarked. Cars were parked. The Temple had reserved a limited number of tables. Some tag sale item donors who could not commit to sitting at a tag sale table were given the opportunity to drop off their donations ahead of time. Pick-ups were arranged for the elderly. On the morning of the event, enough volunteers willingly sorted through the donation items and quickly arranged them into some order on the Temple tag sale tables.
It was a lovely sun-kissed day of negotiations in the Temple's parking lot. There was a steady stream of tag sale shoppers that arrived to check out advertised items from a 10-foot rowboat to home goods, sports equipment, children's items, books and more. There were also wonderful refreshments available for purchase at the bake sale table. Children had a thrilling shopping experience. Their one dollar went a long way.
The best part of the community tag sale was clean-up because there was no drudgery involved whatsoever. Diane Johnson, who introduced herself as a representative of Waterford High School's Drama Club, asked a key question while perusing the tables.
"What are you going to do with all the unsold items at the end of the tag sale?" she said.
"Goodwill. Why, are you looking for some items for a tag sale too?" one of the Temple's tag sale volunteers replied.
It was a matter of fact. The Waterford Drama Club was in the midst of collecting items for their upcoming tag sale on June 2nd. Last Fall, Temple Emanu-El also had the fortune of meeting a member of the Waterford Historical Society, who was in preparation for their tag sale the following week too. It was destiny once again.
"By the way," I said later, as a group of us helped load up her pick-up truck with the remaining tag sale items. "Would you mind circulating some flyers for us at your tag sale? Temple Emanu-El is hosting its annual Silent & Live Auction on June 2nd, the same day as your tag sale. It's at 6:30pm that evening."
"Sure," she said. "I would be happy to hang some of the flyers up and hand some out."
So partner up with members of your organization or even neighbors on your street. Frequent tag saler shoppers like multi-family tag sales because it shortens the list of stops they have to make around town. Donors and sellers will be blessed with open space in their homes. Takers can enjoy their new affordable treasures. Because of fundraisers like this Temple Emanu-El will continue to exist as an active member of the greater Waterford-East Lyme-New London community and support social action efforts in our area.
Cost and labor efficient fundraisers like community tag sales benefit everyone. You can start today. Go through your stuff and contact Diane Johnson at the Waterford Drama Club about your tag sale donations or shop their tag sale on June 2nd. Afterwards, (shameless plug alert), check out Temple Emanu-El's Silent and Live Auction located at 29 Dayton Road at 6:30pm that evening!