Grace Chapel hosts community rummage sale March 7-8

by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The lines always stretch across the parking lot at the start of the annual Grace Chapel rummage sale. So come early to this year's sale, set to kick off at 5 p.m. March 7.  Got stuff you need to get rid of? Are you itching to do some spring cleaning? Or perhaps you are in need of some household goods or those kids keep outgrowing their clothes. In any case, the folks at Grace Chapel can help you out.

The church is holding its seventh annual community rummage sale March 7 and 8 and is seeking donations as well as holding a massive sale. Besides perhaps cleaning out the attic or filling up the kid’s closet, the best part of the sale is that 100 percent of the profit will go toward fighting hunger and poverty right here in Wilsonville.

“The whole desire of this event ... is to bless the community and take care of the most vulnerable among us,” said Jake Schwein, the church’s pastor of justice and compassion. “We forget even in the suburbs of Wilsonville ... there are lot of sub-pockets of people.”

Each year, the church splits the dividends between several groups in Wilsonville, including groups like Wilsonville Community Sharing, Kiwanis Imagination Library, Random Kindness and the West Linn-Wilsonville School District. At the school level, funds are given to school councilors who can then give the funding directly to families who need it. One year a councilor paid for family counseling and bus trips to the sessions, according to Gina Holbrook, who has helped organize and run the event since its inception.

After replicating a city-offered cleanup event years ago, Grace Chapel parishioners decided they wanted to do something different. In 1998, the idea of a garage sale arose and Holbrook was called to action.

She said they didn’t know how the sale would go that first year. However, since that fledging first sale, it has grown bigger and better every year. Now, it takes about 300 volunteers to run the beast of a sale.

“You don’t really get it until you see it,” she said. “It’s a monster.”

When the doors open the first day, it is not for the faint of heart. People eager to get a bargain line up and down the church property. When the doors open, people race to their destination, swiping armloads of books into carts, scooping up tools and scoping out racks upon racks of clothing.

To keep everything under control, volunteers direct traffic, host stations to help shoppers, crews do carry outs, cashiers ring up the cash-only sales and cadets provide security.

“They work so hard. This couldn’t happen without them.” Holbrook said of the volunteers. “It’s a fun thing to work at. The volunteers enjoy it. It’s very high energy and people are happy”

Holbrook and her family, including her three children ages 17, 15 and 11, help out during the event.

“They look forward to it like Christmas. It’s our way of giving back and serving,” she said.

The sale is divided up into departments, with large hanging signs indicating the areas, including books, children’s stuff, baby good, clothes ($1 per items), shoes and coats ($2 each) , tools, lawn and garden items and furniture.

Holbrook said a lot of single moms and lower-income families come to the sale to stock up on essentials at a great price.

One popular area is “man’s land” - a back hallway stuffed with garage items, tools, sporting equipment and fishing gear.

“That department gets ravaged,” Holbrook said.

Some of the odder items sold at the rummage sale include a Pepsi machine, a live rabbit, the tailgate of a pickup truck, “the hugest conference table you’ve ever seen” and a large safe with no combination.

Since its start, the rummage sale has raised more than $78,000, bringing in $18,000 last year.

The church has about 1,000 worshippers from around the region, however, the sale zones in on helping those in Wilsonville, where the church is based.

“We have the most generous God and therefore we have to be the most generous people,” Schwein said. “That’s the heart behind it.”

Although it is not the goal, redistribution also plays a part in the rummage sale — people with too much stuff can get their excess into the hands of those who don’t have enough.

“We don’t need it all. We can redistribute to help others,” Schwein said. “We don’t think of our stuff as resources. But we can give a hand up when people need it.”

The church is taking donations Sunday through March 5 at the church and pick up of large items can be arranged. Holbrook said they will take most items that are still in good shape, except car seats and mattresses.

“We’ll take pretty much anything,” she said. However, “if you wouldn’t buy it at Goodwill, don’t bring it.”

After the sale is over, anything that remains gets donated. Junior Scoops, an Inza R. Wood Middle School nonprofit club, will be getting the remaining clothes to use for its own clothing drive set for March 15. Other groups, such as homeless ministries and even Coffee Creek Correctional Facility get donations. One woman requests leftover water bottles, which she then fills up with ice water to hand out to homeless people on hot summer days, according to Holbrook.

“We try to help out as much as we can, putting everything to good use,” she said.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to purge a lot of stuff they don’t need. And it’s an opportunity to buy something nice for really cheap,” said Schwein. “It really is amazing.”

by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Home electronics, yes, some of it vintage, are among the treasures to be unearthed at the annual rummage sale.

Donation drop off:

Sunday, 2 to 6 p.m.

Monday-Wednesday, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Pickup available during above times. Call 503-454-6852 to schedule.


March 7, 5 to 9 p.m.

March 8, 9 a.m. to noon (everything half off)

All sales final; cash only

Where: 9600 SW Boeckman Road, Wilsonville


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