Sour Grapes and Saddle Sores
Doing A Mission March 29, 2007
One of the oldest running Rummage Sales by anyone in Stark County is a sale that is held the basement rooms in First Congregational UCC in Wyoming. Each year for as long as I have been with the church a sale of good used clothing, household furnishings and knick knacks has been opened to the public. Nina Hatch told me that when the Hatch's came to town in 1948, a group of ladies from the church had a rummage sale in the old Harris Building that stood where the Post Office building is today. She said that in years following, the sale was held in the old Kroger store building and the old flower shop building, that stood on the corners of the intersection of downtown Wyoming. I have looked for records that reported an earlier sale than 1949 but thus far have been unable to locate any record. Pastor Joe Ballard looked in old church records and could not find a mention of the event.
Tradition and word of mouth are powerful ways to pass information. Each late winter persons would begin to talk about the upcoming rummage sale. They would talk about the lack of help and how they were getting "old". I would suggest that perhaps we could just skip the sale that year, they would look at me silently. It was not something one could pass by. It just had to be. Every year there would be help, lots of goods to sell and plenty of customers. I wonder what would happen if some advertising was added. I am sure there would be volunteers outside the church who would be willing workers. One thing for certain, it is a community project these days, one that it older than most of the projects going on. This is truly a project that helps people help people, and that is mission.
Nina said that the women who directed the event in those early days were Orpha Morrow, Gertrude Perrin, Ethel White. Edna Gingrich and Laura Neal. Those folks are people that raise fond memories for members of the church. Elma Streitmatter and Barbara DeWolfe? remembered going to Rummage sales as young persons,which moves the presence of the sale back from 1948. It apprears that the sale began sometime in the 1930's. The sale moved to the basement of First Congregational Church in the 1950's. When we came to town in 1971, the sale filled two of the five rooms, the 2007 sale filled four rooms. I suspect that the sale began with clothing, but the present sale includes "treasures", household items, electric lamps and other electrical items.
The sale brings in a profit that is donated to the church. There is a mission in that clothes are there for people who need them. The price is adjusted to what each person can afford. A selection of clothes that remain are kept in an emergency closet to be given to families or persons who are experiencing an emergency. Warm jackets, hats and gloves are taken to Stark County schools to be given to students. Items from the left overs are also delivered to the following agencies: Dress for Success, Head Start Preschool, Quincy Veterans Home, Toulon Health Care and Rehab Center, Sparland Special Ed, Pregnancy Crisis Center, Abilities Plus, Kewanee Senior Center, Kewanee Salvation Army and Turner House in Toulon.
The mission effort is a place where persons can find good used clothing and other household items. It also provides a place where persons can donate household goods and clothing to a good cause. Nina Hatch said that she was grateful for people all over the county who donated to the sale this year.
This annual sale operates as a tradition. There has been no advertising, the only notice is found in First Church's bulletin. Signs are placed in front of the church.
The group that headed the sale this year were Nina Hatch, Bonnie Miller, Bernene Dahl and Edith Eaton. A large group of volunteers assisted in the sale and delivered clothes to their destinations when the sale was over.
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