The twice annual consignment sales at Matthews United Methodist Church are a great place to score bargains on kids' clothing, toys and gear.
But they also generate thousands of dollars and truckloads of donations for children's missions and helping agencies in the Charlotte area and abroad.
That makes it worth the work of more than 200 volunteers to organize and run the sales, said Clare Palumbo, co-chair of the sales committee.
“The consignors get 70 percent of their items' sales, the church gets some (money) for children's ministries and then we reach out to the greater community,” she says.
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A few churches across southern Mecklenburg host annual consignment sales. The Matthews UMC sale is thought to be the oldest – it started hosting fall and spring events 12 years ago.
This year's fall sale in late September raised $93,000. About $28,000 will go to missions and ministries. Truckloads of items that didn't sell were donated to about a dozen social service groups.
“One crisis pregnancy center had like 24 babies sleeping in drawers, and we were able to get cribs and pack-and-plays to help them,” Palumbo says.
Another pregnancy center received a truckload of baby and toddler clothing, blankets and gear.
More than 100 stuffed animals went to a church that will distribute them on mission trips over the next year.
“With the recession and all the issues we're having now, the sales are a great way for people to get clothes at a good price,” Palumbo says. “But it's become a way to reach out and help people from all walks of life.”
For details about the sales, visit www.matthewsumc.org. The spring sale will be March 21, 2009.