The Rotary Club of Yelm (Washington, US – D 5020) filled the Nisqually Valley Moose Lodge with clothing, furniture, toys, kitchenware and pretty much everything in between for its rummage sale last weekend.
“I thought it was wonderful,” Rotarian Barbara Hulscher said.
“We wanted to thank the Moose Lodge for letting us have it there. We had high school volunteers and volunteers from the Boy Scouts and lots of friends and family. We had a lot of donations this year — I would say twice as much as we had the year before — and we had a lot of customers.”
A number of how much the Rotary made was not available, but Gerald Hulscher did estimate that the figure would be more than enough to fund the Rotary club’s charitable donations and programmes.
“Most of our charitable activity is dedicated to youth, and the youth here in the Yelm area,” Gerald said.
“We provide food in the schools, we provide clothing when we find out there’s a need — shoes, that sort of thing — and we provide hygiene products for these kids.”
As Rotarians learned that hungry students are disadvantaged to learning compared to fed students, they set up a permanent fixture in Yelm Community Schools.
“We have a big cabinet at the high school,” Gerald said.
“It’s in the nurse’s quarters and it’s stocked with food. So if kids come and they haven’t had anything to eat that morning, they can go in there — it’s private — and can have anything to eat they want.”
“It’s called a success chest,” Barbara added.
Gerald said the success chest is important because some kids don’t get to eat school lunch.
“The reason we do this is because there are children at school who don’t qualify for free lunch type programmes, but still need to eat, “ Gerald said.
Last year, all the proceeds of the rummage sale went to a programme called ’12 Weeks of Summer’, which hands out food to youth in need every Tuesday for 12 weeks.
The programme just handed out its second round of bags on July 3.
The idea behind this programme is that kids in need still need to eat during the summer when the schools are feeding many of them.
Last year, the programme dished up over 1,800 bags of food.
This year, however, the ’12 Weeks of Summer’ have been largely paid for by generous organisations.
“Actually, we’ve had some grants this year to help us with our 12 Weeks of Summer,” Gerald said.
“Even the tribe helped us out this year. They know there’s a need, and they are recognising that we are helping fill it, so we are getting a good response from our request for grants.”
So all the proceeds from the rummage sale will go toward things like the success chest, scholarships, clothing for youth in need, hygiene products for those who have to go without and even to other charitable organisations.
“During the school year, there’s an organisation called Homeless Backpacks that we support,” Gerald said.
“They provide bags of food every weekend for kids who are in need. This last year it was in excess of 135 bags a week, and those bags cost $8 or $9 a bag.”
With all the good the Rotary club is doing with their rummage sale, Barbara can’t help but look to the future.
“The event has the potential of growing each year and we believe that we will continue to get donations, volunteers and shoppers,” Barbara said.
“People are beginning to recognise that it is one of Yelm’s annual events. We are really excited about this.”