Toying with Christmas

As usual life is insanely busy. Last Saturday was the culmination of the toy sale. "Toy sale?" you ask. Well, yeah. I've wanted to try this again for 20 years - we used to do it at our church in Montreal all those years ago (St Barnabas in DDO for anyone that knows Montreal). We'd have all the parish families clear out old toys the kids have grown out of, or don't play with any more, collect them up and sell them. Back then we would load everything in a truck and ship them to a downtown church in one of the poorer neighborhoods and sell the stuff really cheap. All the money we raised went to local charities.

This year I finally remembered early enough to suggest it to a few people and the idea clicked. So that's what we did this fall. Interesting stuff. For the most part people were good about giving us toys in decent shape, but there was a little bit of weeding out the really beat up stuff.

We didn't do the sale at our own church because we're a bit off the beaten track. Instead we did it at a Lutheran church in downtown Kent because it's closer to the Thrift Store that our church runs. The Thrift Store has absolutely no extra space to carry toys, so we needed somewhere close. As usual, the day of the sale crept up on us faster than we would have liked, and we could have used more publicity, but we had a modest flow of traffic. By our official closing time we had sold about half of what we brought (it covered 18 tables set out in the parish hall) and made a modest amount of money. We still had about half of what we started with as we were packing up, though, until a woman came in with a 4 year old boy.

At that point everything was back in boxes ready to give to the local food bank or Goodwill, but we let her look through stuff. As she did, we got talking and she told us about all these families at her church that were single moms with three kids, or other families who had taken in a couple of orphaned nieces. So she ended up taking a van full of stuff with lots of extras for free. The food bank will still get a ton of toys to hand out in the next couple of weeks. My friend Paul has a couple of boys (13 and 10 years old) who had never cleared out any toys ever, and this really encouraged them to dig deep and let go of a lot of stuff. So not only do they feel all warm about it, Paul gets his basement back. How cool is that? Everybody wins...

So it was a lot of work and stress, but it turned out incredibly well in the end. And that's just another lesson God keeps teaching me. But I'm glad big projects are over for the time being.

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