Every year, on the first weekend of October, my church hosts a huge rummage sale, called the Whale of a Sale. All year long, we collect pre-owned items, storing them in PODs on church campus. Then, two Saturdays before the sale, we empty the PODs and fill a gymnasium. For two weeks, we continue to accept donations, organizing and pricing everything from furniture to – literally – kitchen sinks.
Inevitably, well-intentioned people donate broken, torn and dirty items. One dedicated volunteer who organizes the linens every year finds a few donated suitcases, fills them with dirty sheets, blankets, curtains and bedspreads, takes them home, washes them and brings them back. She’s diligent. Why bother with stinky, dirty donations? Why not just throw them away? Because she also volunteers for the United Methodist Children’s Home and she knows. She knows that some people have nothing. And dirty can be washed. Torn can be mended.
Last year, a leather couch was donated. At one time, it must have been beautiful. After hours of standing, day after day on a cement gymnasium floor, I can tell you it was comfortable.
But it was also dirty.
Some of the volunteers wanted to throw it out. I said no. They gave me their reasons, I gave mine. As co-chair of the event, I pulled rank and the couch stayed.
It didn’t sell. The first charity truck we called to pick up the remaining sale items left it behind.
But the day after the sale, before the second charity truck was to arrive, a church family brought in another family in need. We told them they could have anything they saw. We were offering them the stuff that no one bought, the stuff that a charity truck left behind.
Among the items remaining were a few Bibles, which we always give away freely during the sale. The children each picked up a Bible and the littlest one, a little girl no more than five, who had found a children’s bible, looked up at me and asked, “I can have this? It’s mine?”
Nearly wrecked me.
When I said, “it’s yours!” she ran to her mom to show her, saying “LOOK WHAT I GOT!!”
That’s when I noticed her dad, a very big guy, sitting on a very big, very comfortable leather sofa, with a very big smile on his face.
They filled a pick-up truck and a mini-van.
I am so blessed.
(This is not the couch, just what the mom was talking about doing to it)