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It’s official: Lehigh’s Great South Side Sale raises largest amount ever

A group of volunteers model donated offerings before the start of the Great South Side Sale, which took place last Saturday and raised more than $19,000 to benefit programming for local schoolchildren.

Excitement for Lehigh’s Great South Side Sale started building early this year, as bargain-hunters began lining up by 6 a.m. Saturday, June 7th to be among the first into the tent opposite St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church on Fourth Street.

By the time the sale officially began at 10 a.m., the lines snaked around the block. And by the time it closed six hours later, more than $19,000 was raised to benefit after school homework clubs for local schoolchildren. 

“It was an amazing day,” said Kim Carrell-Smith, professor of practice in Lehigh’s history department. “We beat our old record of $16,500 by at least $3,000, and we’re still counting since we have a few items to sell separately, like art work and a 1930s antique percolator.”

The dollar figure is “by far the most we’ve ever raised ever!” says Carolina Hernendez, director of Lehigh’s Community Service Office (CSO), who calculates that 146 volunteers contributed a total of 1,350 hours toward the effort.  “We are so grateful for the Lehigh family and the community volunteers that helped us make this all possible.” 

Carrell-Smith and co-organizer Hernendez attribute the success of this year’s sale to both exceptional merchandise donated by the Lehigh community and extraordinary support by many students, staff and faculty. Hernandez was able to “whip up a volunteer pool that was larger than ever before, thanks to so much help from the Student Affairs stem,” Carrell-Smith said.

Others on her list of “Great South Side Sale Heroes” include Professor John Smith, “who was wheeling and dealing in the furniture area with his broken elbow in a sling,” and “our best volunteer and sale supporter,” Executive Director of Student Auxiliary Services David Joseph. 

Several other staff and faculty and their spouses and students helped organize and tag merchandise during the previous month and helped during the sale, she said. They included Barb Wurth, Marianne Napravnik, Becky Eshelman and Prof. Nikki Tannenbaum. “Nikki earned the title ‘Queen of Linens,’ complete with a tiara on her baseball cap all day at the sale,” Carrell-Smith said.

“Volunteers spent as long as 12 hours working that day, through four shifts, and so many folks pitched in. We were particularly touched by the crew of seven from El Shaddai Church who came at the end of the sale to help us clean up and pack the leftovers, and the members of the football team, who came to help us break down tables and load the Goodwill truck that took away the leftovers. There was so much to be done, and only a handful of daylong volunteers still there at the end. We truly could not have done it without those two lifesaver crews.”

Community effort

To underscore the importance of the sale to the community, this year’s event was officially opened by Lehigh President Alice P. Gast and Bethlehem’s new mayor, Bob Donchez. 

“Everyone commented on the generosity of Lehigh students, and the volunteers who put all of it together,” said Carrell-Smith. “They could not believe how big the sale was, and how many people were lined up for so long, in anticipation.”

Gast and Donchez were joined by representatives of several civic organizations, local schools, governmental officials and supporting business leaders. 

Adds Carrell-Smith: “Many of the local dignitaries all privately said thank you, too, for the collaborations they have with both the university and the city. There were many smiles and handshakes all around.”

The Move-Out program started at Lehigh 16 years ago when Professors Carrell-Smith and John Smith noticed the vast number of usable items being discarded by students who were leaving campus for the summer. The couple devised the plan to sort, price and sell the items at a one-day sale and the results exceeded their expectations. That initial drive netted $500 for the South Bethlehem Neighborhood Center. In 2001, Hernandez made the project one of her office’s biggest events of the year and helped direct more volunteers to the cause.

More images from the Great South Side Sale can be viewed at http://lehighu.tumblr.com/.
 
Photo by Christa Neu

Story by Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Monday, June 09, 2014

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