Ready to rummage: New incarnation planned for well-loved Eagle Valley fundraiser | VailDaily.com

Ready to rummage: New incarnation planned for well-loved Eagle Valley fundraiser

EAGLE — Last year, the Eagle Valley Humane Society collected a $10,000 check from the Eagle Valley Community Fund Rummage sale — a tiny part of the organization's annual $200,000 budget.

"We are usually the organization that gets the top dollar amount from the rummage sale," said Char Gonsenica, of the Eagle Valley Humane Society.

But as they looked to 2018 funding, Humane Society members thought they would have to find a new way to make up for that shortfall. They were not alone.

Dozens of local nonprofit groups have benefited from rummage sale proceeds for more than 50 years. For decades, the huge two-weekend sale was conducted from the former Minturn Middle School/Battle Mountain High School building at Maloit Park. But last year, Eagle County Schools, which owns the property, announced it was going to tear down the building because it needed the location for about a dozen modular classrooms to accommodate 200 Red Sandstone Elementary School students while the Vail school was rebuilt.

That meant the sale no longer had a home, and its long-time cadre of volunteer organizers decided it was time for the annual sale to end. But then a new group of community activists stepped forward. For the past few months, they have been gathering at the Vail Public Library to strategize what to do next.

The Rummage Sale of Eagle County — planned for Friday, Sept. 14, through Sunday, Sept. 16 — is the result.

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Sale in September

The Rummage Sale of Eagle County will feature the same model as the traditional sale. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work hours to benefit local nonprofit organizations. When the sale is over and the profits are tallied, checks will be distributed to the various nonprofit entities.

"When I am out in the community and mention the sale is coming back, people are excited," said Lori Barnes, one of the event organizers.

"I get at least two or three emails or phone calls a day," said Rebecca Kanaly, of the United Way of Eagle River Valley, another one of the sale organizers. "Folks are getting on board."

The sale will be held at the Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. But the heavy lifting for the event will begin in August.

For four Sundays in August — Aug. 5, 12, 19 and 21 — from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., sale donations will be gathered at the following churches in the Eagle River Valley:

• New Life Assembly of God, 480 Nottingham Road, Avon.

• St. Clare of Assisi Parish, 31622 U.S. Highway 6, Edwards.

• United Methodist Church of Eagle Valley, 333 E. Second St., Eagle.

• St. Mary's Catholic Church, 215 Capitol St., Eagle.

A staffed donation vehicle will be stationed at each of these locations, and organizers hope the community takes this opportunity to drop off items that can find new life in a different home.

Humble expectations

The former community fund rummage sale was epic in proportion and reputation. While organizers of the new sale loved the former event, they note that their new incarnation will be more modest.

"We don't know what to expect. We are being humble in our expectations," Kanaly said. "I can't imagine we will distribute what they did last year with our new location and new model."

While they don't think they will see checks as large as they did in the past, various community nonprofits said they are just happy to see the sale continue.

"We are excited that people are going to keep it happening. It helps so many organizations," Gonsenica said.

"It's definitely a benefit to the community," said Kathy Heicher, president of the Eagle County Historical Society, another traditional rummage sale recipient.

While the sale hasn't been the historical society's main source of funding, it has been a welcome contribution.

"We have several people who volunteer many hours for us," Heicher said. "We usually collect between $1,500 and $2,000 without having to stage a major event."

What to donate?

The organizers of The Rummage Sale of Eagle County welcome donations that meet a few criteria — is the item clean, is it in good condition, and does it work? If the answer to those questions is yes, here’s a list of what to donate:

• Clothes

• Shoes

• Accessories

• Books

• Sporting goods

• Small appliances

• Bookcases

• Home decor

• Housewares

• Small tools

• Toys

Organizers cannot accept large appliances, mattresses, furniture, television sets, draperies, lamps or tires.

“Please remember, when you donate items that cannot be sold, it costs us money to dispose of your item,” the event website states.

For additional information about donations, volunteering or registering a nonprofit for sale proceeds, visit therummagesale.org.