This is a special year for the Barrington United Methodist Rummage Sale --it is our 80th anniversary! For eighty years the sale has been a way to raise money for mission work, a means for helping families stretch their budget, and a social gathering for workers.
An institution in the community, the sale began during the Depression. "Times were hard" as we've so often heard and church families reached out to help each other. What started as a trade between families, evolved into a rummage sale so others experiencing hard times could share the abundance. Records of one of the first sales, in 1932, showed a profit of $11.67.
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By the 1940's there were two sales per year, spring and fall, and they netted $200 to $500 per sale. In 1944, Gertrude Schwemm, then president of the Women's Society of Christian Service, stressed the three-fold objectives of the society: namely, assistance to the local church; aiding the missionary program of the general church, and developing the spiritual life of its members. Some of the proceeds of the sale in 1944 purchased $12 of canned goods sent to the Lake Bluff Orphanage and the Methodist Old People's Home and articles sent to Wesley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary for their bazaar. A cash donation was also sent to the Agard Rest Home. It is said that by this time, the sale had become so well known that families would ride the train out from Chicago to take advantage of the sale.
In the 1960's, profit from the sales was often over $2,000; sales continued to be held in the spring and fall and included a bake sale. A newspaper article highlighted items for the "Specialty Shop:" "There is a sofa-bed, over-stuffed chairs, porch furniture and an antique bed. Coffee and rolls will be served in the Upper Lounge where the bake sale will be held." Once circle suggested that "it would be most helpful for the spring sale if everyone would press the garments before bringing them in to be sold." Proceeds were given to the support of such projects as Peek House in Polo, Marcy Center and Newberry Settlement House in Chicago, schools, hospitals, and work with Indian and Spanish Americans in the US Foreign missions. By now, a change in church structure resulted in a new name for the women's organization--United Methodist Women--and funds sent to this organization were going to missions nationally and internationally.
When the fire destroyed the Barrington United Methodist Church building in the village of Barrington in October 1998, just a week before the scheduled sale, the Knights of Columbus offered their building on Kelsey Road. With the help of amazing volunteers, items for the sale were donated and arranged for sale in just two days, instead of the usual five days. The Knights continued to allow us to use the space until the new church building was completed in 2003. One year, while at the Knights of Columbus, shoes from a store going out of business were donated to the sale; hundreds of pairs of shoes resulted in a profit over $7,000 that year! Being able to continue the sale while without a church building meant Barrington United Methodist Women could continue to donate to several local missions, including Meals with Wheels, Barrington Youth Services, Marcy Newberry, ChildServ, and the national organization of United Methodist Women, the largest denominational faith organization for women with approximately 800,000 members who contribute to charitable programs and projects related to women, children and youth in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world.
Now, eighty years later, the Rummage Sale continues to serve the same purposes. "The sale is a great opportunity to find some unique treasures and bargains. But more importantly, it provides funds for many worthy organizations and provides families a way to stretch their budget with a selection of needed items at a low price," said committee member Carolyn Schneider. Sale profits continue to go to local organizations, such as Meals with Wheels, FISH Food Pantry, PADS, WINGS, Home of the Sparrow, Marcy Newberry, ChildServ, Olive Branch Mission, and to the mission work of the national United Methodist Women. Customers return year after year. Bags of clothing continue to be sent to family members on at least three continents.
And always, there has been the friendship and camaraderie that develops as individuals work together with the purpose of helping others. In the "old building" on Hough Street, the sale was held in four rooms of the basement. There were two rooms of clothing, a room of housewares, and the "French Room" (Specialty Shop was renamed in the 1970's) which was devoted to nicer, specialty items. In the "new building" the sale fills up an entire wing of the church and includes a tent full of furniture.
Another benefit of the sale is that donating items is a great way to 'be green.' While the early organizers did not think of reselling items as being environmentally wise, they did know the importance of reusing and repurposing. "Donating items is a way of recycling and keeps usable items out of landfills," commented Linda Osikowicz. Five years ago the committee made a conscious decision to recycle as much as possible, so items not sold are donated to other resale shops and organizations or recycled.
So, we invite you to come and celebrate with us! The sale will take place Friday, October 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Saturday shoppers can take advantage of their bargain Bag Sale, with all of the goodies you can fit into a $5 bag in selected departments and a half price sale in the French Room and tent!
Shoppers will find clothing (men's, women's and children's), shoes, purses, and children's toys. Departments upstairs include electronics, lamps, books, CD's, DVD's/videos, computer hardware and software, house wares, tools, linens, holiday items, crafts, and fabrics. Furniture, bikes, sporting goods, and lawn items are just some of the departments that fill the tent to the seams.
"One of the outstanding areas not to be missed is the 'French Room.' No longer just the nicer items, the 'French Room' has evolved into a true 'Specialty Shop', filled with carefully selected, high quality items, including china, jewelry, clothing, antiques and collectibles, and other amazing treasures," said committee chair Mary Mellon.
Donations of goods will be accepted from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29; Monday, Sept. 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, Oct. 2 from 9:00 a.m. until noon. Tax donation receipts will be readily available. Any and all volunteers are welcome to help unpack, sort, and distribute merchandise.
For more information regarding donations and volunteering, please contact (847) 836-5540 or visit www.barringtonumc.com.