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Asbury House annual benefit garage sale begins Friday

By Angela Ward
Aug. 1, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Volunteers who help sort items for the annual Asbury House garage sale said the event offers them a chance to double-up on the amount of good they do for the community.

The garage sale raises money for Asbury House Child Development Center, a Christian-based preschool that offers its services on a sliding scale so as to be more affordable for low-income families, said volunteer Pat Clifton.

It also provides people a chance to purchase quality items - some brand new and others gently used - at discount prices.

"Not everybody can afford to shop at stores," Clifton said. "The garage sale offers an opportunity for people to purchase things for their children or furnish a first apartment without spending a bundle."

Regardless of whether shoppers are looking for bargains on baby items, hoping to add to collections of knick-knacks or get an early start on Christmas shopping, volunteers say they should be able to find something to suit them among the tables full of books, electronics, kitchenware, children's clothing, toys, sporting goods and other items.

"We've got a collection of Madame Alexander dolls this year, which is something different," Clifton said. "The furniture and household items are usually the things that go quickest."

While most of the volunteers at the garage sale come from Methodist churches in East Texas - Asbury House is a project of the local Methodist conference - other volunteers are Baptists, Catholics or people with no particular religious affiliation who simply support the work the center does, she said.

"One thing we want to stress is that Asbury House gets absolutely no governmental funding," Clifton said. "All of its revenue comes from charitable donations. It's recently expanded from serving 36 children to 60, so they need more money to meet their expanded services."

Many of the volunteers have been showing up for years or, in Clifton's case, decades. Despite the work involved, most of those helping out have a good time.

"There's a real sense of camaraderie that develops among the volunteers," Clifton said. "It's almost like we're at summer camp or something." Bonnie Edmund, another longtime volunteer, said her job as a teacher at Pine Tree High School motivates her to help out at the sale every summer.

"As a teacher, I know the value of getting kids off to a good start during their pre-school years, and Asbury House has helped do that for generations of children," Edmund said.

The garage sale is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church of Longview, corner of Whaley and Green streets. There is a $1 admission charge until 11 a.m. after which admission is free. For information, call (903) 235-3538.



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