By Kim Barto Meeks
Do you love hunting for a bargain? The Charity League of Martinsville & Henry County will have a warehouse full of them at its big annual fundraiser on the first Saturday in October.
The 51st annual Bargain Fair will be held 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 at 242 Franklin St., which is a warehouse near the Clocktower Building. The location is somewhat new and is the first time the organization has rented a building for the rummage sale on a long-term basis.
For many years, Bargain Fair was held at the National Guard Armory on Commonwealth Blvd. When that location was no longer available, the event hopped between different buildings throughout the county from year to year. The problem? Not only did the League have to publicize a new location for the popular sale each year, the volunteer-run organization had to truck everything in and out during the same week – a huge undertaking that included large, bulky furniture items and wooden clothing racks.
After a successful sale at the Franklin St. location in 2018, Charity League members voted to continue the lease on a long-term basis. According to organizers, more time to prepare means a bigger and better event for 2019.
“Having the warehouse allowed us to collect and sort donations throughout the year. Monthly public drop-offs were utilized by Charity League members and the community,” said 2018-19 Charity League President Melanie Eggleston. She also praised the city of Martinsville “for working with us on waste management to clean out the warehouse.”
Charity League has been collecting donations of secondhand items from past League members and the public, including appliances, furniture, kitchen items, books, linens, clothing, children’s toys, sporting goods, exercise equipment, and holiday decor. This year, the holiday section includes numerous brand new artificial Christmas trees with lights, still in boxes. The sale features a large selection of clothing and shoes for all sizes and seasons, with name brands such as North Face, Uggs, American Eagle, Nordstrom, and Alfred Dunner.
Bargain Fair volunteers scour the donations for rare, valuable, and antique items that are set aside in the “Treasures” section. These include designer clothes and accessories, art, and collector’s items. One of the donations this year was a full dinner set of fine china.
Not only does the sale offer good deals, the proceeds go to charity. Bargain Fair is the Charity League’s largest fundraiser, with funds supporting scholarships and other local causes, all centered around children. Eggleston encouraged the community to come out Oct. 5 in support of this cause.
“Since we are a non-profit organization, every dollar we make goes to funding children’s programs or goes directly back to children in the form of scholarships,” she said. “Our mission is to support our area children, and when you support us, you support them as well.”
The Charity League’s largest charitable venture is its scholarship program, which awarded 30 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each to local high school graduates and college students for the 2019-2020 academic year. They also make direct donations to local charities that serve youth. Other causes include:
Bringing Missoula Children’s Theatre organization to town every year for a week-long residency and performance, giving hundreds of children the chance to act onstage.
Touch-a-Truck, held at Martinsville Speedway, gives children a chance to see and touch a variety of construction equipment, emergency vehicles, helicopters, and other vehicles up close.
Brighter Christmas benefits local teens whose families cannot afford holiday gifts. Because of their age, they tend to fall through the cracks of other gift programs which are centered around younger children.
The Charity League, established in 1931, strives to promote growth and development of children throughout Martinsville and Henry County through education and health programs. For more information, or to make a donation, visit CharityLeague.org or their Facebook page at Charity League – Martinsville Henry County.