BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Briarcliff Congregational Church’s 100th annual Rummage Sale doesn’t start until 9 a.m. Saturday, but coordinators expect a long line at the door several hours before it begins.
It’s a testament, they say, to what the church’s annual rummage sale means to residents in Briarcliff Manor and Ossining. The church, founded in 1896, held a rummage sale in 1912 as a fundraiser in order to support the congregation and the church’s efforts throughout the year. The first sale made $194.60. This year, coordinators expect the sale to haul in roughly $20,000 that will go toward church programs and several charities in Briarcliff Manor and Ossining.
“It’s really a great community service and a wonderful activity that brings our church members together,” said Penny Wolf, the rummage sale’s coordinator. “It brings us in contact with a lot of people in the area in a very happy and useful way.”
Co-coordinator Helen Buerger agreed.
“It’s kind of wild how much stuff we get from the community,” Buerger said. “People know the sale and look out for it every year. There are a lot of people looking out for us every year and donating throughout the year. But this year it’s been huge. We’ve never had this much come in.”
Nearly every item in the rummage sale, from handbags to coats to toys, is priced under $10. But there are occasionally far more valuable items hidden in the sale and Brueger said every year people from all over Westchester come seeking those items.
“They love it for the joy of the hunt and it’s exciting,” she said. “We also have a lot of regulars who come here every year from all over Westchester looking for items at our inexpensive prices. So it’s great for the people in the community too.”
For volunteer Londa Wilson, she always takes a week off of work to help set up for the one-day sale.
“This is my vacation,” Wilson said. “It’s fun and every year something amazing happens.”
Wilson said a few years ago the group discovered sterling silver candlesticks worth several thousand dollars, which the group gave back immediately. Another year, Wilson spotted an animation cell of the Beatles movie “Yellow Submarine,” worth more than $600.
“You never know what you’re going to find here,” Wilson said. “You just don’t know what you’re going to find when you open the boxes and bags that people donate. Something fantastic happens every year. And the people that come here love the bargains and they come from far away to find it.”
Co-coordinator Mel Corbett of Ossining said hundreds of residents from all over Westchester County and even out of state come to the rummage sale.
“They line up outside early and they come from all over,” Corbett said. “We’ve had people come from the Bronx or other states and a lot of them what they do is they buy things to mail or take back to their families or send them to impoverished areas. It’s really quite something.”
The Rummage Sale runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Briarcliff Congregational Church's Parish Hall at 30 South State Road in Briarcliff Manor.