At least 30 minutes before doors opened, lines of shoppers formed Saturday morning outside the Community Church at Tellico Village for the annual Tellico Village Community Church Crafters and Habitat for Humanity Garage Sale and Boutique.
Both groups each year come together for the sale, which features donated items ranging from furniture and home goods to lawn care equipment and clothing.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the mission of Habitat,” Tony Gibbons, Loudon County Habitat for Humanity executive director, said. “We have an incredibly long history with the Community Church at Tellico Village and with the Tellico Village community. This allows us to work in partnership with the church and the community and raising funds for our mission, remind them of the good work with we’re doing, partnering with another good organization, the Crafters — of course, it does a lot for our financial support but also the awareness piece.”
Money raised is split between both groups. For Habitat, Gibbons pointed to money going toward general support, likely for home construction or home repair services.
The Crafters in the past used its share to give to charitable causes, including Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County, Good Shepherd Center of Monroe County and The Public Library at Tellico Village.
“We like to think that this event is a gift to the community,” Kathy Blevins, Crafters event co-chairwoman, said. “We like to stress that after expenses the proceeds are split evenly between Crafters and Habitat. ... Last year, Crafters gave $23,800 ... into the community for various organizations.”
For some, the sale may be the first time people are made aware of Habitat’s cause. The sale’s reach is wide, Gibbons said.
“Even in the down years we had a line of 30 or 40 people waiting at 7:30 in the morning for an 8 o’clock start time,” he said. “That tells me that it’s not just Tellico Village that has bought into this. I just loaded an SUV with some material or some good that they purchased, and they’re from Sweetwater or Monroe County, and some folks from Knox County. So this is something bigger than just Tellico Village, bigger than Loudon County. It’s something that when word gets out they come, they realize that you get good quality donated items for good causes, they want to come back.”
About 50-60 volunteers Friday helped unload donated items. Gibbons credited a team effort between both groups for making the sale operate efficiently.
“It’s highly organized, and that’s one of the things I’ve heard from a lot of customers today is they appreciate how organized it is,” he said. “That’s a testament to the leadership of the church side. They set the tone with that — we have the right person on our side that fits right with that. We kind of have it set up in a way where Habitat will focus on this bottom floor area and make sure it’s all squared away and the other folks work up there to make sure that’s all squared away. We come together in making sure that it’s a great event.”
Gibbons said Sammie Shanks, Habitat volunteer coordinator, along with Crafters event co-chairwomen Blevins and Charlene Barton helped organize the sale.
Shanks on Monday said the sale brought in a combined $15,700.
“We have seen the participation grow every year, I think,” Blevins said. “... This community is so giving and so generous, not only of the goods, but of their time, because one organization couldn’t do this alone. We just couldn’t do it by ourselves.”