One Saturday in late September, the grounds of First Baptist Church Huntersville will be transformed into an outdoor bazaar.
For the 34th year, the church will host its World Hunger Yard Sale, an annual event that brings in thousands of dollars that the church donates to fight hunger locally and internationally.
This year, the church could cross the $1 million mark in cumulative fund raising from the sale.
“We are a mission-minded church,” said church member Neal Howes. “We always have been.”
The sale helps people locally by selling used items at inexpensive prices. Then, 100 percent of the money raised – the church does not deduct expenses – goes to local organizations such as Loaves & Fishes and Angels and Sparrows soup kitchen as well as to providing food for people in Haiti and parts of the U.S.
The church typically raises about $45,000 from a sale.
The church will collect donations and sign up volunteers this month in preparation for the sale, which is Sept. 26. It takes about 125 people to organize, run and clean up the event.
First Baptist, which works with Lake Forest Church and Huntersville ARP Church to hold the sale, collects donations from the community and stores them in tractor trailers parked at the church.
Donations come from all around the community and include clothes, kitchen items and gardening tools. In the past, the church also has sold a donated boat and vehicles.
Items are sorted into boxes by category. The day before the sale, boxes are delivered to “department heads,” who price items and display them on tables.
The sale items are covered with tarps overnight, and a few church members who “don’t get much sleep that night” watch over the tables until the sale opens, Howes said.
As many as 200 or 300 people can be lined up when the sale opens at 7 a.m., he said. Many are repeat customers.
“We’ve had families for years come that this is where they get their clothes for the year, or furniture,” Howes said.
The church also hosts a bake sale and silent auction in its gym during the sale, and customers can buy hot dogs and concessions.
It takes a combined effort of church members and community volunteers to pull off the sale each year.
“I’ve seen some people show up on Friday that we’ve never seen before to help set up,” Howes said. “This is a prime example of God’s hands in this.”
The sale, which goes rain or shine, ends at 1 p.m. By the next morning, items that haven’t sold are packed up and the church grounds have returned to normal.
“One day it’s wall-to-wall tables and items, and then the next day it’s gone,” Howes said.
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to go?
The 34th World Hunger Yard Sale will be held 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 26 at First Baptist Church Huntersville, 119 N. Old Statesville Road. To make a donation for the live auction or to volunteer, call 704-875-6581. For information about the sale, go to fbc-h.org. Donations for the sale can be dropped off 6-8 p.m. Fridays and noon-4 p.m. Saturday at the church.
This year, the church will hold a live auction in conjunction with the sale from 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 3. All are welcome.