These past 4 days have been busy. I volunteered to help my sister, Ginny, who lives in northern NJ, with the semi-annual BARKS Garage Sale. The money from this super big and somewhat crazy garage sale goes to help the local animal shelter in this rural community.
For two days I helped set up. People were coming in trucks and cars and sometimes U-Hauls to drop off their “stuff”-soon to become someone else’s treasure. It is amazing the things people have and the things that people no longer want. All the volunteers helped sort through the boxes and put things up on tables. There were drinking glasses everywhere. The used electronics tent was filled to the max. Every holiday treasure that is no longer considered a treasure was delivered to us. The volunteers in that tent had their hands very full with unloading and sorting and placing objects-Christmas-Easter-Halloween-Thanksgiving and more. I am sure you get the idea. The Art tent was burgeoning with paintings, photos, and frames. Crafts supplies?, come to the garage sale.
Bicycles, Furniture, Toys, Clothes, Linens, Dishes, Books, Games, Puzzles, Shoes, Suitcases, Sporting Equipment, Lamps and Shades, Tools, Silverware, Glasses, Candles (melting in the sun), Jewelry, and even the Kitchen Sink. Chotskies galore-you too could have walked out with your very own treasures. One definition of chotskies is garage sale crap (I love this definition).
Finally, Friday evening arrived and we were done. Now we waited.
We awoke to a perfect day, with temps to the 80’s F. and the sun was shining. My sister and I arrived around eight in the morning. The parking lot was already bordering on full. There were U-Hauls ready to take away treasures. The line of people waiting for the 9 a.m. start was snaking along the fence. Some were standing, others were sitting in their chairs. There were people with plastic sleds and wagons to haul out their treasures. Once we were through the gates all was quiet, except for the volunteers doing their final preparation. We were ready, the “stuff” was ready and there was an air of anticipation.
The gates opened and people quickly dashed in, well walked fast as they were told not to run. First stop was the suitcases which people took off to other areas to fill. Shoes?-gone. Computer Screens?-gone. By late morning we had sold approximately half of the furniture. By the end of the day about two thirds of the furniture was gone. Dressers, tables, desks, chairs, vanities, pieces of Italian marble and odd looking things that I am still not sure what they were-all gone.
It was interesting to talk to some of the people and find out what they were going to do with their new treasures. One woman was using an old wood mirror (sold for $15) in her garden. Old iron bedposts became a good trellis to use in the garden as well. A huge marble table that was almost too heavy to move, went to another person’s yard. There was a unique folding screen that was bought by an elementary school to use in a play. The play had a scene where the young actress had to change outfits. This screen would help her change without being seen, while it suggested more. The same school also bought several other pieces as props.
By the end of Saturday my sister and I were crazy tired. We were dirty and hot and done. Each day when we arrived home we immediate shed our clothes and threw them in the wash. Showers couldn’t happen fast enough.
Was it fun? Yes. I enjoyed spending time with Ginny. We have always been friends, even though we live 3000 miles apart. It was an different sort of fun. As a one time event, yes it was fun. If it was something I had to do over and over again, well maybe not so much fun. BARKS took good care of it’s volunteers. We were watered and fed. Most of the volunteers worked well together. I met people who, if I lived closer, I might be interested in knowing better. One woman belonged to a group of people who are sectional hikers on the Appalachian Trail. They have almost completed the AT, with about 200 miles to go.
The end result is all about money. BARKS was introduced in 1973 for the purpose of rescuing and fostering sick, injured, abandoned, and abused animals. The shelter sponsors proper veterinary care and foster homes until the animals can be placed in loving permanent homes. Each year BARKS finds homes for over three hundred and fifty cats and kittens and one hundred dogs and puppies. All these animals are homeless or abandoned and many, because they are ill or injured, require extensive veterinary care as well as socialization to make them suitable for adoption. It is a very successful organization, which is evident by the number of adoptions which are achieved through a careful screening and application procedure.
BARKS is a non-profit organization. All revenues come solely from private, individual donations, adoption fees, and fundraisers. All donations are tax deductible. The organization is 100% volunteer driven. All donations go directly for the care and maintenance of the animals.
Like many small towns and communities they rely on donations and support from the local population and beyond. If you would like to make a donation just click on the BARKS link here. It will take you to their web site. They will be grateful for any amount you would like to give.
Now I am no longer a novice volunteer for the semi-annual garage sale. If I am back on the east coast at the right time of the year I would gladly offer to help again. I love animals and support organizations that help support animal welfare. And, maybe the next time I will find my treasure at the BARKS garage sale.