Yard sale at Griffor home draws community support

Michael Mekarski shows a drawing his daughter, Riley made of herself and Allison Griffor. Riley donated herr Barbie cruiser to the yard sale to benefit the Griffor family.

Christina Elmore

On any other morning, it would have been no more than the average yard sale.

But the view in front of the Griffors' Pierpont Avenue home Saturday conveyed a more somber scenario as friends selflessly sold the family's remaining belongings — clothing, stuffed animals, children's books, a crib.

A sheet of plywood was placed over the front door of the small white house, temporarily hiding the horror that took place there Oct. 25, when someone fired a shotgun into the West Ashley home. Five-year-old Allison Griffor was wounded in her sleep, and died two days later.

Community support for the family was present early, before the sun gradually lit the darkness of the night before.

By 7:30 a.m. more than 30 people had gathered at the home, even though the sale wasn't slated to begin until 8 a.m.

Some came to buy, some to donate their own items, and some just to show support.

The sale's organizer, Sheri Gerald, said most of the individuals present at that time were from the Crosstowne Christian Church the Griffors attended. Some were parents from Drayton Hall Elementary where Allison went to school.

By 8:30 a.m. Gerald said the group had already made $500 in donations and purchases. Sale organizers planned to continue until about 2 p.m. Saturday.

Gerald said her 5-year-old daughter Lacy met Allison in church, and that they were also in the same kindergarten class.

She said Lacy had asked her if Jesus was Allison's father now. "I said yes that he was, but that he was only her father in Heaven and that she still had her mother and father down here," Gerald said.

As the class's "homeroom mom," Gerald volunteered with the children regularly and helped plan events. Last week she visited the children every day that Allison was in the hospital to show support and help comfort the young students.

When Allison died two days after the unsolved shooting, Gerald called each student's parents to let them know.

"Some of them were completely shocked because they didn't know anything about the story. Some of them didn't know that Allison was in their child's class. Some of them just broke down and started crying when I first told them. Some of them were following the story and knew what was going on. ... Everybody was very open, very sad and willing to do whatever they could to help out," Gerald said.

Like Lacy Gerald, Michael Mekarski's 5-year-old daughter, Riley, was in Allison's class.

"On the first day of kindergarten Riley pulled me over and said, 'Meet my new best friend Allison.' We exchanged phone numbers but never made that play date happen," Mekarski said.

Mekarski said his daughter was so moved by what happened that she decided to donate some of her own toys to the yard sale, including a Barbie Cruiser.

Riley drew a picture of herself with Allison and placed it inside the hood of the toy vehicle for its new owner to have.

While sifting through the Griffors' items, it's hard not to reflect on the tragedy that their previous owners faced, said Nicki Register of Summerville, shopping for clothes for her 13-month-old niece.

"It's very sad to see the sizes (of the clothing) and to know that there was a little girl that was in them and she's now gone," Register said.