Garage-sale profits fund programs

Last year’s fund-raiser raised approximately $2,500 for YMCA mentoring programs.

Naomi Scott

The University YMCA is hoping one student’s junk can become another student’s gold starting today.

Drop and Dash, a second-year fund-raising event for the group, has turned the YMCA’s normally tidy building into an indoor garage sale cluttered with used items, from worn furniture to colorful action figures.

“It takes stuff college kids throw out every year and puts it back into use,” Ben Gervais, a YMCA student board member, said.

Last year’s inaugural event raised approximately $2,500, but was barely enough to pay for storing all the used items, organizers said.

Storage costs were discounted this year, which should help the group earn a bigger profit, YMCA student board member Allison Capel said.

The group also has more items to sell this year, Capel added, especially sofas.

This year’s event could earn as much as $4,000, sale coordinator Faiza Bharmal said.

“This is the second time we’re doing this, so we’d appreciate as much support as possible,” she said.

Preparation for the event began last spring, when students were asked to leave unwanted belongings outside their homes for YMCA volunteers to collect, organizers said. During the summer, they stored, organized and priced the items.

The University YMCA branch adopted the fund-raising idea from a branch at the University of Illinois at Urbana, where a similar event raised more than $15,000 last year, Gervais said.

Trucks emptied furniture, clothes, lamps and more items into the building on Monday. Sara Testen, a YMCA program director, said the used goods will be priced similarly to prices at a Goodwill store.

Organizers said the money raised will help pay for mentorship activities, tutoring programs and volunteer training.

The sale ends Thursday, when prices will be significantly lowered, Testen said.