A WITNESS BY BECKY COMSTOCK
A few weeks ago marked the 11th anniversary of the Christ Church Children’s Consignment Sale.
To many church members without young children, the consignment sale has always been something that pops up twice a year, visible for a few weeks in the bulletin and e-news but then fading back into the pages of church life and events past.
By why is the sale such a staple church event? What exactly does it do — for our church, and for the community?
More than you might think.
Then there’s the impact on local families.
As all parents can attest, raising children is expensive. And in the young years of constant growth and education, there is a seemingly endless churning of clothes, toys and gear that seems to never give the family wallet a rest. Enter the consignment sale. A retail model used for decades around the world, consignment sales and shops sell used goods for owners in return for a portion of the proceeds. Consignors (sellers) benefit from increased marketing due to size, reach and operational capacity while consignees (sales and shops) enjoy profit from sales without product overhead.
At our sale, consignors set prices on their items and earn at least 60 percent of their total sales. They can opt to work one 3-hour volunteer shift and increase that percentage to 80. Of course the draw of making more money means many opt to volunteer; and volunteer power is how the sale operates. Each sale typically utilizes roughly 100 volunteers for everything from setting up racks and organizing merchandise to taking tickets and assisting customers.
So consignors get to clean out their closets, put money back in their pockets and know that their often beloved children’s items are moving on to new lives and new kids. But it doesn’t even stop there. After the sale, consignors choose to either take home items that didn’t sell or donate them. All donated items are picked up directly after the sale by Pass it On — an outreach ministry of St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Colonial Heights. Pass it On hosts its own seasonal sale of sorts — but at theirs, guests are invited through various nonprofits and social service organizations to shop for free for clothing and other items needed for their children.
It is eye opening — and heart warming — to see the people whose lives our sale impacts. I’ve met families who outfit multiple children for the entire year just by attending our sales. Hundreds of children come through the lines clutching treasures of toys, books and games they can’t wait to take home. Their smiles are enlightening and their enthusiasm is contagious. It is a beautiful reminder of the little things made possible through our efforts.
Since 2008, our sale has grown to become one of the largest and most anticipated sales in Richmond. People come from all over the metro area to find gently-loved kids items at bargain prices. But from the money raised to the lives of the thousands of people it has touched, the Christ Church Consignment Sale is much more than a bi-annual church event. It is the epitome of our dedication to the way of love, and to living and loving like Jesus every day.