Rousing report on the Great Southside Sale!

from follower Kim Carrell-Smith

Gadfly:

Hope you’ve heard the good news by now: The Great Southside Sale raised $23,000, plus we served a no. of other partners with redirected donations, including New Bethany Ministries (food for food pantry, and toiletries, cleaning supplies and detergent), Hispanic Center of the LV (food for food bank) Bethlehem Community Schools (school and art supplies), Nativity Thrift Shop (some of the clothing left after the sale), Touchstone Theater (textiles for the upcoming Unbound festival), and the Bunny Brigade (soft textiles for a large no. of rabbits rescued in Milford)! We also served on-campus constituencies with things like books for the First Gen Initiative at Lehigh, and a couple of other programs. Sale leftovers were picked up at the end of the day by Green Drop, for Purple Heart, a program that supports veteran services

But it isn’t so much about the money raised and the partners served, although all that is terrific and makes us all really happy. We also saved TONS of great reusable goods from the waste stream, and we created a fabulous community event that allowed Lehigh students to give back to the community they live in. All customers could find great items  that everyone could afford to buy with dignity, and in a kind of a festival atmosphere. It’s the most cheerful, exciting place to be on the first Saturday in June. Community volunteers work alongside Lehigh’s administrators, students, faculty and staff: an 89-year-old folded and chatted with an 18-year-old student and a local school principal, a community volunteer and local college student sold huge numbers of rugs in a matter of two hours with the Lehigh provost; a cafe worker explained to a teacher how to keep the tables tidied up, a retired nonprofit employee folded linens with a retiring anthropology professor, a Community School coordinator hawked refrigerators with a top Lehigh administrator, a local artist sold furniture with a History professor, and the Vice President for Finance pushed shoe and book sales as her husband  kept sporting goods moving . . .

And the customers cheered, chatted, and bought, with huge smiles, and exclamations of joy. One customer was spotted buying a new pair of shoes, and as he left he put them on and threw his old ones in the trash can. And you can’t imagine the smiles on the faces of the student and Lehigh Student Affairs cashiers, as well as Carolina Hernandez, the director of Lehigh’s Community Service Office who oversaw the front area of the sale, and me, sale co-founder, who held down the back. We still haven’t stopped smiling.

During the course of Move Out (roughly 4 weeks time), we had over 85 individuals contribute over 1200 volunteer hours total. On the day of the Great South Side Sale itself, we had over 75 individuals that contributed over 450 hours in total to make the event such a success. Kind of remarkable that all this work could be done by such a small group of volunteers, relative to the tons (literally) of goods we processed!

And we managed to sell nearly every stick of that mountain of furniture collected this year, which astounded us. Green Drop’s pickup only made up half of a small truck, in all . . . after five very large trucks were filled to go to the sale. Amazing!

Hoping folks may want to participate next year. I’ll be happy to let you know ahead of time when we start recruiting volunteers.

Many thanks to those who shopped, donated, and volunteered for this great cause. Here’s to another great sale in 2020!

Kim

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