LAKE VILLA, Ill. – It takes a community. More than the bargains, hidden treasures, and mountains of toys and clothing sure to be found at the Prince of Peace Rummage Sale, the annual sale also puts onto display a strong sense of community spirit.
"It's the community involvement and participation that makes our sale successful. The community comes together on so many different levels," said Prince of Peace School Principal Bonnie Brown, who oversees one of the largest sales in northwestern Lake County. Located at the corner of Routes 83 and 132 in Lake Villa, the Prince of Peace Rummage Sale runs June 5-6 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and June 7 from 8 a.m. to noon.
Kids, teen, and adult clothing along with games, toys, antiques, jewelry, vintage items, and collectibles fill eight classrooms. Housewares, electronics, linens, dishes, furniture, and dining and bedroom sets fill a gymnasium. Bikes, lawnmowers, large appliances, sporting goods, tools, and sometimes cars, boats and other vehicles find themselves under a tent city sprawled out over several acres of school grounds.
Brown insists the community rallies to organize and set up the Prince of Peace Rummage Sale so the community itself can benefit from what it has to offer. She recalled a story of a local family who lost their home to a fire.
"They were financially stretched as you can imagine and were in desperate need to set up their household again," Brown said. "Thanks to the rummage sale, we were able to minister and reach out to a family in need. They refurbished their home with furnishings, linens, dishes, and many other household items."
The Prince of Peace Rummage Sale fills the needs for people of all ages in all stages of their life whether going away to college, furnishing an apartment, buying a new home, starting a family, keeping up with children's clothes, or just bargain hunting or seeking rare treasures.
"We have something for everyone," Brown said.
The enormity of the rummage sale doesn't happen by itself. It takes a community of volunteers to make it happen. For six months from January to June, volunteers pick up donations from all over the area. School and parish families plan the event months in advance. Sorting, organizing and pricing begin a couple of weeks before the sale.
Boy Scouts pitch the tents, Girls Scouts assist with baby-sitting and keeping rooms orderly, and local high school students from Lakes, Carmel, and Grayslake North help load, unload and set up the thousands of items that fill the school grounds.
"The volunteers span many generations between young parents and retired parishioners to teens. It's neat to see the young people work together. They take ownership in helping, and hopefully it begins to build a spirit of lifelong community service," Brown said.
Local County cadets and local police assist with security and directing traffic. Local retailers and businesses donate everything from tape, shopping carts and hangers to storage units to hold items before the sale. Local restaurants donate food and beverages to feed the volunteers. Following the sale, leftover items are donated again to Good Will and other charities, such as women's and children's organizations or animal shelters.
"Behind the scenes and on the scenes, help reaches far and wide with different groups in the community. It's a community effort," Brown said.
The must-stop-and-shop rummage sale has been a fixture in Lake Villa going on 17 years, drawing shoppers from all over Lake County, Cook County, southern Wisconsin, and eastern McHenry County. Professional rummage salers often stampede the Prince of Peace grounds on Day 1 to check out the collectibles and early bargains.
"We are a destination for many people," Brown noted. "We know of families from out of state who purposely visit their families here when our sale is going on. People know our space, our location and our times."
Donations are still being accepted through June 3. For more information, call 847-356-6111, ext. 509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.