Volunteers gear up for Rotary Club Inner Wheel's 'Trash and Treasure Sale'

Volunteers gear up for Rotary Club Inner Wheel's 'Trash and Treasure Sale'
Marge Varnado AKA The Linen Lady (Source: WAFB)
Marge Varnado AKA The Linen Lady (Source: WAFB)
Ernestine Bridgeforth marks Giftware (Source: WAFB)
Ernestine Bridgeforth marks Giftware (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It could be the easiest volunteer job in the world: advertising the Inner Wheel's Annual Trash and Treasure Sale. That's because the news, once revealed, spreads like wildfire.

The Rotary Club's Inner Wheel advertises the monster garage sale so successfully that an empty store building must be found to house all the donations.
Tanja Foil, the publicity contact for this year's fundraiser, has been volunteering with the sale for four years now.

"I first came as a customer. I was a shopper," Foil recalls. "I saw it in the paper years ago, and I thought it was such fun and everybody looked like they were having a ball working. Well, my husband joined the Rotary and that was a great opportunity for me to join in!"

Foil says the Inner Wheel has about 30 to 40 volunteers during the early stocking the store period. There's are many jobs to do.

"My favorite part is sorting," Foil says, "I love opening those boxes and seeing what's inside. You kind of open it and say "ooh!" and maybe sometimes you open it and say "ugh!" Foil chuckles.

Tanja gets her children involved. "I have three children. My oldest is 21, my middle is 18, and my 16-year-old son has autism. He loves it. He can price things and organize shoes. We we put a rubber band around all of them to keep them together."

The Trash and Treasure sale, though large, runs like a well-oiled machine. That may be because of the experience managers exhibit. Lauren Ragland, Cynthia Galmon, and Virginia Bogan are the co-chairs for the entire project. They are all in their third year doing oversight of the massive effort.

Because the old Mervyn's Store at Cortana Mall has to be turned into a market, the women need muscle. And that's where the Salvation Army comes in.

"There's generally some stuff left after the sale," Foil says, "and we donate it to the Salvation Army. They provide a tremendous amount of stuff while we're organizing. The men that they have in their rehab programs come and they help set up the shelves, they do the heavy lifting. And it's very helpful."
Outside a truck parked in the parking lot holds the surplus of donated items. Those will be used in the second and third days to refresh the array of items for sale.

And for the hardcore, hungry, enthusiastic garage sale shoppers, the Trash and Treasure Sale will have its special preview sale again this year.

The sale is on Friday the 20th. Shoppers need to buy a $20 pass at the sale site to gain access to the early event. Workers are there every day except on Sunday. Last year, proceeds from the pre-sale were used to pay the utilities for the building during the sale.

The 2016 Attic Trash &Treasure will be March 4, 5, and 6th. It takes place in the old Mervyns at Cortana Mall. Sale hours are from Friday, March 4 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday, March 5 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; and Sunday, March 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Everything is half price on Sunday. Admission is free and credit cards accepted.

The main charity receiving the proceeds from years sale is Greater Baton Rouge Hope Academy. Other charities receiving funds are: Salvation Army, Louisiana Lupus Foundation, Louisiana Key Academy, Rotary Club of Baton Rouge Scholarship Foundation, Gardere Community Christian School, Brave Heart Children in Need, Habitat for Humanity, and Hope Ministries.

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