Church’s garage sale paradise marks 30th anniversary today |

Church’s garage sale paradise marks 30th anniversary today

The size of this weekend’s rummage sale at Sierra Presbyterian Church is best judged by its size Tuesday.

Three days before the sale even started, old lawn furniture, surplus armoires, baby swings and rack upon rack of clothing stretched through the parking lot as far as the eye could see.

This time, the yard sale is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and volunteers who have worked the sale say it’s about more than the thrill of finding a rare treasure – it’s about the causes the profits will support.

“People that participate in it really believe in it,” said organizer Jeff Patton. “We see ourselves as the hands and feet of God.”

The money doesn’t stay at Sierra Presbyterian; it’s funneled to a handful of Nevada County’s Christian nonprofits including Hospitality House, Interfaith Food Ministry, Living Well and the Care Crisis Nursery.

Year after year, “regulars” and garage sale enthusiasts comb the vast selection of donations from church and community members.

“It’s organized, and it’s like a huge department store,” said Louise Ullom, who has volunteered her time to staff the sale every Labor Day weekend since the early 1990s.

Before the sale begins Friday, crowds line up behind a barricade, Ullom said. When garage sale staff pull back the barricade at 9 a.m. sharp, the garage salers make a mad dash to the tables – usually, to the antiques and collectibles section.

It takes 200 volunteers a full week to set up the garage sale. The team effort brings church members together, Ullom said.

“They’re blessed by volunteering, and the shoppers are blessed because they couldn’t afford the stuff from other places,” Patton said.

After the two-day sale ends, the leftovers evaporate within three hours. Habitat for Humanity picks up leftover furniture, while hospice picks up leftover clothes and housewares.

Though the project is so big “it seems like an impossible task,” Patton said, he knows why it’s kept up for three decades, rain or shine.

“People believe in making a difference,” he said. “It’s an important ministry of the church, and we’re very blessed by God.”

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail or call (530) 477-4247.

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