By BRENNA GRITEMAN
A decade ago, a Findlay church lady had an idea for a project that would help raise money to expand the church’s children’s department. That project has since become a semi-annual sale that attracts vendors and shoppers from throughout the region while continuously supporting charities near and far.
The Twice-Blessed Consignment Sale will mark its 20th installment this month, with tens of thousands of children’s clothing items, toys, books, games, furniture pieces and more available. And while the sheer volume might seem astronomical — organizers are expecting to check in 14,000 retail items from over 100 sellers in preparation for the three-day event — coordinator Holly Myers assures the process runs “like a well-oiled machine.”
It’s a stark contrast with the sale’s humble beginnings. Back then, Myers explained, the volunteers wrote out all the price tags by hand, then completed matching accounting forms, and tallied sales on an adding machine. “Now we’re all computerized,” she said, noting all sale tags include bar codes, and each register lane is equipped with an iPad compatible with PayPal, as well as cash, credit and debit payment options. Sales racks are even organized by size, gender and tops and bottoms, and each item must pass a rigorous quality test. All toys offered for sale must work, and clothing must be free from stains, snags and holes.
“We just find that it makes a more enjoyable shopping experience,” Myers said.
And of course it makes it far more enjoyable for the 100 or so volunteers needed to pull off a sale of this size twice a year. Those volunteers are tasked with scanning each item into the system, pricing it and manning the cash registers. For their trouble they receive free child care and meals, although the sense of community gained by being involved in such a project is also a huge perk.
“You get to know people. You see them twice a year and you get to know them on a personal level,” Myers said.
The Twice-Blessed sale is held at Findlay First Church of the Nazarene and does serve as a fundraiser for the church. Not all volunteers, however, are church-affiliated, and the majority of the consigners also come from the community as a whole rather than the church congregation.
For each item sold, 70 percent is returned to the consigner. Twenty percent goes to the church for children’s-based initiatives — past projects have included a playground, a children’s worship area and a computerized check-in program — and another 10 percent is donated to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, an organization that provides medical care, disaster relief and education to children around the world. In the past 10 years the sale has generated close to $7,000 for that charity.
After the three-day sale closes, consigners have the option of retrieving their unsold items or allowing the church to donate them to charities like Ryans Place and the Christian Clearing House.
“We’re really passionate about trying to help locally with every sale,” Myers said.
While she loves helping children near and far, she also loves the way the sale benefits the consigners themselves. Through the years she’s heard many vendors talk about how the money they’ve made from the sale has allowed them to take vacation, pay their bills or buy groceries — all while providing needed children’s items to others. Hence the name “Twice-Blessed.”
“We feel like there are so many ways people are blessed by the sale,” she said. “There’s so many people in so many ways that this helps.”
The 20th anniversary Twice-Blessed sale will be presented 4-8 p.m. April 21; and 9 a.m. to noon April 22-23. Those looking for an even bigger bargain are encouraged to visit Saturday during half-price day. Visit www.twiceblessedsale.org to sign up to become a consignor or a volunteer.
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By BRENNA GRITEMAN