By Julie Brown Patton
Nearly 70 years of trinkets have surfaced at rummage sales held by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church members since the place of worship was first established in Allenton in 1948 as a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod mission church. This year’s sale will be held July 27-29, indoors, at 500 Meramec Blvd. in Eureka’s Hilltop Village. All money collected will be used for St. Mark’s missions and ministries.
“For over 20 years, the women of the church sometimes had two sales every year, once in the spring and once in the fall,” said sale organizer Joanie Deuschle. “But when the church started a school, it became difficult to work around the school operations. Now we just have one sale in the summer.”
Hours of the sale will be July 27 from 4-7 p.m.; July 28 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; and July 29 from 8 a.m.-noon in the air-conditioned school gym. Deuschle vows “sublime to fantastic” items will be at the event. Refreshments also are served. Additionally, one supporter, Lynn Schaeg, makes chocolate-chip cookies to sell there as well.
“Just about everything you can imagine might show up at this sale. All types of clothes for all genders and ages,” Deuschle said. “Our children’s clothes are usually the most sought after. Because we have our sale before school starts, many of our customers buy school clothes, including shoes. Children’s shoes do not wear out as fast as children outgrowing them. Therefore we have a nice selection of these shoes waiting.”
She said other items include collectables, books, electronics, jewelry, linens, household objects and small furniture.
“I’m amazed at the quality of items we have at our sale. People are very careful not to give us unsellable items. We have a reputation for having nice items for resale. Because of this, we often get consignment customers who come to get items for resale,” she said.
Most clothing is priced less than a dollar, she said, except for suits and expensive jackets. Books and toys run 50 cents to $1 each. Bikes sell for $15 to $35, depending on the quality. Deuschle said prices are higher on Thursday, the first day of the sale, decreasing on Friday, and ending on Saturday with $3-$5 a bag day.
All rummage products are donations from St. Mark’s church members and school friends. Some people collect items year-round for the sale. Anything left over goes to charitable organizations or recycling centers. For this year’s sale, volunteers will accept donations from the public at the church/school location on Tuesday, July 25, from 3-7 p.m. and Wednesday, July 26, from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Most items are accepted except large appliances, entertainment centers and large sofas.
In years past, Deuschle said they found money in purses, a diamond ring, false teeth and other unbelievable things among donations. Really popular purchased items are good children’s furniture and inexpensive antique collectibles, she added.
On average, the St. Mark’s sale makes approximately $3,500 each year. This year, Deuschle said they got an Action Team grant from The Thrivent Insurance company for $250 to help with overhead expenses before the sale begins.
All of this year’s rummage sale proceeds will be dispersed within the same week of the sale and awarded to the Eureka MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) club to help them with their yearly expenses, the Lutheran World Relief and various missions being served by the St. Mark’s church community.
Volunteers recall heartwarming and humorous stories, such as the time a young student pastor was trying on a pair of shoes at the sale, and before he could take them off, someone grabbed and bought his personal shoes with which he had walked in. The volunteers felt badly for him and gave him the shoes he had tried on.
“It’s amazing how many of the same people come through our doors year after year,” said Deuschle. “We really do promote recycling and helping our neighbors at this sale. If we know there is someone hurting, and they need what we have – it’s free!”