Citadel stuff adds appeal to big sale

This large Citadel flag in Deas Hall is among the items for sale at the Citadel Women's Club Garage Sale this Saturday.

Leroy Burnell

Dozens of volunteers folded, stacked and shined items for the upcoming Citadel Women's Club Garage Sale, an event that has outgrown its venue twice and now boasts about 15,000 square feet of bargains.

The sale, which is open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Deas Hall gym at The Citadel, has been an annual event since 1995, said John Carter, chairman of the Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Science. Carter has been helping out with the sale since its early days, including leading a volunteer team in an annual 'Dumpster dive' for salable items tossed when cadets move out of the barracks at the end of the year.

The sale, which raises money for scholarships, filled only four folding tables its first year, Carter said, and only included items discarded by cadets.

But today, women's club members collect donations year-round, said Vanya Perez, the group's president. The sale now has something for everyone, including furniture, clothing, shoes, school supplies, cleaning supplies, and Citadel uniforms and gear. 'It's a big sale,' she said. 'That's what I want people to know.'

Edith Riggle, chairwoman of the sale, said it has raised nearly $200,000 for scholarships since it began, which includes about $29,000 from last year's event.

An enormous number of volunteer hours go into the event, she said. And the volunteers make sure all of the items are clean and in working order, and that they are displayed in organized way. She expects a big crowd Saturday. People usually line up more than an hour before the doors are open.

The club donates to various charities anything that's not sold, Riggle said. Then it starts collecting new items for next year's sale.

Perez said the club also is working with the nonprofit My Sister's House for the first time this year. That group serves people affected by domestic violence. Women from the program will be able shop the garage sale Friday, before it's open to the public, she said.

Women who have experienced domestic violence often need to set up new households for themselves and their children, Perez said. And they can pick up things they need, such as towels, linens and household supplies, inexpensively. 'It's women helping women.'

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491.