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Church seeks donations for World Hunger Day sale

Aileen Ramirez reminded her large volunteer force recently that God is working in First Baptist Church Huntersville's annual World Hunger Day sale.

The event raises tens of thousands of dollars each year through selling donated items and food. The church gives it all to local, national and international hunger relief organizations. This year's will be the 29th annual event.

Two trucks have been filled with donations for the sale, scheduled for Sept. 25. Usually about three would be filled by this time.

"You can see the difference between past years' and this year's," said Ramirez, who is coordinating the event for the second year. "Even though we might not have tons of donations, that is just what God wants us to have right now. We need to be grateful for that."

And, she said, two truckloads is a lot of stuff and will make for a large sale. She is overseeing more than 100 volunteers, including 23 "department heads" who are in charge of sale areas, such as women's clothing.

Janet Webb, the church's office manager and a deacon, said donations have dropped off in recent years, but the church still brings in between $30,000 and $40,000 every year from the World Hunger Day sale. Before the hard economic times, sales sometimes reached $50,000.

The money raised will go to local food pantries and to Haiti, Ramirez said.

The church collects donations from members and from others in the community for weeks leading up to the sale. In past years, people have donated cars and boats for sale, and the church is still looking for anyone who wants to donate a large item this year.

Volunteers will spend all day Friday sorting and organizing the donations, grouping them into categories for the sale. A guard will stay with the stuff overnight, and the sale will begin at 7 a.m. Saturday. Webb said shoppers begin lining up at 6 a.m. to get in.

Ramirez said she began volunteering for the sale in 2003, never imagining she would be in charge of it one day.

"It's a lot of people working for God's purpose," she said. "It's amazing to see how they connect just for that."

Ramirez is also still a volunteer, as the sale coordinator position is not paid.

The sale will include everything from household items to electronics to clothing for all ages. Church members will donate baked goods, including cakes, cookies, pies and brownies, for a bake sale, and food concessions will be available.

The yard sale ends at noon. Then from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17, the church will hold a live auction that also will benefit hunger relief organizations. The church auctions donated items; Webb said a basket of homemade salsas she contributed one year sold for $600.

The auction usually raises about $10,000, Webb said.

First Baptist is still collecting donations, which can be dropped off in the trailers in the church's parking lot, 119 N. Old Statesville Road. For more information about donating large items, call the church at 704-875-6581.

The church's website is www.fbc-h.org.

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