The Puyallup United Methodist Church broke its own record when it raised more than $12,000 earlier this month during a rummage sale to benefit the Family Renewal Shelter in Tacoma.
The Aug. 3 sale brought in $12,203. Keith Galbraith, the executive director for the shelter, was overwhelmed.
“That money is going to go so far,” he said. “It will get stretched to help so many people and do so much good.”
Founded in 1986, the shelter provides options for women who are in domestic-violent situations. Many arrive at the shelter with only their children and the clothes on their backs.
The shelter doesn’t receives public assistance because it must protect their clients’ identities.
Galbraith compares the work the volunteers do for the annual rummage sale with doing a short-term foreign mission, without the airplanes.
“They make the same commitment,” he said. “They work for months, like people do when they go to Africa or South America.”
Ruth Tervol has been the director of the sale for the past 12 years.
“Keith came and spoke to our women’s group, and the first year the church placed a tub in the church, asking for donations of items to help women who came to the shelter, things like shampoo, creams and other items,” Tervol said.
The next year, the shelter ran the sale at an outside location, and it rained the entire day. The weather was extremely hot the following year, so the Puyallup United Methodist Church used a large hall and held the sale inside.
The event has grown ever since. It filled the entire building this year and spilled into the outside grounds. Each room had a different theme, and items for sale were checked before they were sold. All electronic equipment was tested to make sure it was operational, and clothing had to be free of rips and stains. Dresser drawers opened easily, and vacuum cleaners hummed when they were plugged in.
Suzanne Barnes and her children, Zander and Lauren, were loading up on reasonably priced items.
“The prices are so great, I told the kids they could buy whatever they wanted to,” Barnes said.
The one-day sale ended at 5 p.m. At that time, other charitable organizations were invited to take what was left. On Aug. 5, a Goodwill truck picked up everything that was left.
Tervol said they had 283 volunteers who worked throughout the day and in the days that led up to the sale, sorting and pricing the merchandise.
Galbraith and Tervol met in the hall after the final money count had taken place.
“We just held on to each other and cried,” Tervol said.