By Benjamin Cohn
Weaverville – First Baptist Church on Main Street serves up helpings of salvation every Sunday, but to continue providing actual sustenance throughout the week for some of the town’s most vulnerable residents, its senior citizens, the stove located in the church’s full-service kitchen needs immediate replacement.
The church opted for a community yard sale to raise funds for its new cooking equipment. This yard sale took place last Saturday and, by all accounts, was a huge success.
Serving daily meals to Weaverville’s elderly residents requires the church to repair or replace the kitchen’s stove, according to church member and cashier for Saturday’s yard sale Saralyn Collins, who provided some background information in an interview with The Tribune.
“Over the last month or so, we have asked families in the church to donate good, used items. Good, clean, usable items,” she said. “We’re trying to refurbish our kitchen and a major stove is thousands of dollars. We feed the community here. We have a senior meal site every day of the week and so many community or church activities.
“Our stove in there is quite old and quite difficult to use. We’ve been asking for, we gotta get a new stove. Basically, the reason for this is that the people have donated the most unbelievable stuff.”
Antique furniture, canvas prints and framed art, retro beer steins from the 1980s. Clothing. Handbags. Paperback novels. Cosmetics. All these items and more remained after Saturday’s massive flurry of early-morning sales concluded.
“I’ve done ninety-nine percent of it [pricing for the day’s yard sale]. Three weeks,” Collins said. “It took me three weeks to open the things, the boxes. I had to unpack 40 or 50 crates by myself. [I had to] divide them, get them organized. We started in one room, [and] ended up in three rooms and the hall. Then I had to price and then repack them all because we had to move them down here, to the fellowship hall.”
“We’ve got a lot of vintage items. I’ve sold a lot [of vintage tins] to some dealers. They all had labels and names on them. I looked every one of them up on the internet. [We’ve made] a couple thousand dollars. I made a thousand before the sale even started today. Church members and people that I knew came by to look and buy [items].”
Another church-goer and event organizer, much younger than her companion, described more details of the yard sale’s logistical requirements.
Maya Dotson-Smith, 17, told The Tribune that she is “the youngest member of the people who planned this. I’m 17, so I’m really young. I remember they asked me originally, they were like, ‘hey, would you be interested in this?’ “
“I was just like, ‘uh, yes!’. I collect antiques, actually. I have an antique chest, a really old … one of those pedal-powered Singer sewing machines. I have a lot of really old things and I just eat it up.”
Asked what it felt like to take a leadership role in the church at such a young age, Dotson-Smith said, “I really enjoyed working on [the yard sale]. It gave me a chance to really try to be a leader, as well as having a young person be in it allows it to not be an ‘old-lady’ sale.
“I know I helped a lot with days and planning. I priced all the jewelry and [did things like] seeing things and being like, ‘will this sell, will this not?’ I know I’m going to swoop in [afterwards] and take as much as I possibly can [laughing]. We had a lot of blankets and we donated those to a shelter. Wasn’t either going to make money or we thought that it would be better used at a shelter.”
Collins’s final comment was to note that many of the remaining items would be donated to the local branch of a major non-profit organization. “We’ve got a lot that’ll be left that we’ll be donating to Habitat [for Humanity].”
Clearly proud of the yard sale’s success, Dotson-Smith exclaimed happily that “it was insane!” Weaverville’s First Baptist is, at this moment, more than halfway to their goal of raising enough funds to replace the stove.
To help in this effort, contact the church at 828-645-6720 or visit in person at 63 North Main Street in Weaverville.