Merced County Times Newspaper
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The Making Of A Mega Garage Sale For Students

John Derby
John Derby

There is a saying, “People tend to accumulate as much stuff as they have room for,” and such is the case down here in Mexico, where there are literally dozens of garages full of things which have been brought down by Americans.

Now, there have been garage sales in the past, and people who support the local fire department use them to raise money to pay for the gas in the trucks.

However, this year a garage sale was organized by Los Amigos de la Ninos, and the money was to help young people pay for education at the upper high school level and college. In Mexico these are not free.

Los Amigos raises almost $35,000 a year to pay for over 30 students. These students are somewhat special because they do not live in the more populated areas but live in the rancheros which are so far from the schools the students do not go home during the week, but stay in special housing. For college they go to La Paz or other major cities.

So when Los Amigos put out the call for help, almost everyone had something to contribute to the garage sale. By the time the big garage sale was to be held, there were three garages full of items both big and small.

It took three women in the club to organize the material and a lot of men to do the moving. A large parking lot was set aside for the big day and all cars had to be removed to make space.

For the high end items like Kayaks, fishing gear, furniture, and even clothes, there was a separate section. Hours were used to make sure everything had a price tag on it.

Flyers were circulated in all the beach communities as well as the closest nearby town which was about 14 miles away. This size of the garage sale was as much interest to the local Mexicans as it was to the Gringos.

As a high point of the garage sale, one of the Gringos in real life is an auctioneer, and he volunteered to hold an auction for the most valuable items to be sold.

The day before the auction there were over 30 people who showed up to haul all the stuff from the three storage garages to the parking lot. All the tables in the surrounding park community were commandeered.

For items which would not fit on the tables, there were large tarps put on the ground and they were full. Now if only the weather man could be counted on, and that seemed likely.

The Saturday of the actual event was crazy. It was hard to believe so many people could be packed into such a space. Over 300 people were literally tripping over each other when the clock went off at 9 a.m. and the buying started.

For people who normally would not spend a dime, the pocket books opened up. After all, it was for a worthy cause.

When the dust settled, Los Amigos made it a goal of not only having enough money to pay for all the student scholarships but enough money for some of the following year also.

When the dust settled, Los Amigos made it goal raising over $12,000 on just this one fund raiser.

Members of Los Amigos pay dues to add to the annual budget which was not only enough money to pay for all the student scholarships, but also left some money for next year.

There was something else which occurred as a result of this project. Americans and Canadians were

doing something special to help their neighbor to the south. It was not big government money, it was

garage sale money, and it is the kind of project which speaks more about the kind of cooperation

between two people living together, then all the bad news about the problems at the border.

Plans are now being made for next year’s bigger-than-ever garage sale.

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