August 28, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- Organizing a garage or yard sale can be more trouble than it's worth, particularly in a rural community like this one, where customers may be few and far between down dirt roads.
However, area residents can avoid the hassle of hosting a sale themselves and declutter their homes of unwanted items while also helping a local charity provide necessities for families by donating items for the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund's 10th Annual Rummage Sale.
The sale, planned for 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sept. 19 and 20, with a pre-sale from 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Sept. 18, provides a great one-stop shopping experience at St. Anne Church, 825 S. Ortonville Road. Donations of clean items will be accepted on Sept. 16 only, from 9 a.m. until there is no more room to take items.
"We're calling it our '10th for $10,000 sale,'" said Suzy Fluck, sale organizer. "This is our biggest fundraiser all year for OCEF and they really depend on it. Even if someone has one nice piece of furniture or jewelry, even if it is just one piece, we appreciate it."
All of the profits from the sale benefit the local food pantry, which serves low-income residents in the Brandon School District.
The inaugural OCEF Rummage Sale was in 2004, after Sue Roberts attended an OCEF meeting and learned the non-profit organization was rationing toilet paper. She teamed up with Fluck and they organized the first sale in just a few weeks time.
The response that first year was awesome, recalls Roberts, and has grown in popularity, as well as in profits, every year. OCEF garners on average about $8,000 per year from the sale to help put food on the table for families in need.
The rummage sale is always held in September and draws a wide variety of donated items, including furniture, clothing, books, toys, hardware, computer equipment, kitchen goods, small appliances, infant supplies, tools, antiques, luggage and much more. The only items not accepted are large appliances, mattresses, tires or toxic materials. Last year, a tractor was donated. Over the years, there have been extraordinarily unique or hard-to-find items. Fluck and Roberts still remember the large baseball card collection that was donated, and Civil War era quilts. Two vintage fountain pens that were donated sold for $500 on eBay. Tax receipts are available.
"We've had things where we think people might not have known what they were giving away," said Fluck. "If there is something with sentimental value, we try to find the owner."
Some donors bring one or two items, some show up to the church on donation day with a truckload and return with another truckload. Any and all donations are appreciated.
"It's like Christmas," said Roberts of what it is like to see items coming in.
It takes a great deal of work to make the rummage sale a success and Fluck and Roberts appreciate all the help from volunteers who sort items and help set prices.
"We try and price so we are good stewards of the donations we receive, but to give a good deal to shoppers," said Fluck.
Volunteers come in all ages, Roberts said, and they try to assign them an area in which they have knowledge of the items.
"A young man came last year and spent two days testing and helping us price and identify all the thingamajigs," she said. "Customers even come in and identify items for us."
Fluck and Roberts will step down as organizers after this year and are looking for their replacements, perhaps a duo or trio of friends with hearts for helping the community.
"Many people can relate to certain circumstances happening in life where finances are challenged," said Roberts. "No one is immune to having a crisis in life where they need help. It's important that organizations like OCEF are available to help people."
For more information, call Suzy Fluck at 248-620-0176 or Sue Roberts at 248-625-9110.
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville