Like any store selling things to the public, the Lions Club has been hit hard by COVID-19.
The club operates a twice-monthly garage sale at a location at 2391 Hydraulic Road, which president Brent Oxenbury said is a struggle compared to their old location inside the Maple Park Mall.
They were also forced to close for three months due to COVID-19.
“Since we moved here, our rent has gone up substantially, and we’re trying to keep our heads above water,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re sitting at the point where we’re doing all this just to pay the rent every month.”
The building was busy on July 28, as volunteers worked to accept donations and set up the store. Lions volunteers work every Wednesday.
“We’re just now kind of breaking even, and some cases losing a bit of money every month, but we’re slowly opening things up,” Oxenbury said.
Donations to the Lions Club are also passed onto people in need. The club also increased their student bursary program for 2021. They now support seven students with $750 each.
Most of that money is raised through their garage sales, and while donations are coming fast and furious, the volunteer hours to prepare the items are still growing. Items are stacked to the ceiling at their new location, with more donations pouring in.
Oxenbury added it’s a struggle to recruit new volunteers, a problem many service organizations are facing.
“Sometimes we spend more time culling out the stuff we can’t sell and be polite about the stuff people are donating. (We have to) take the good with the bad,” he said with a chuckle.
Other fundraising events have taken a back seat as the Lions look to get their storefront up and running at a high capacity again. They’re still selling raffle tickets, but other events have been cancelled.
“We haven’t had a chance to talk about (other fundraisers),” Oxenbury said. “Right now, we’re putting a lot of effort into bringing (the garage sales) back up, so we’re earning something. If that comes back, the way it used to be, then we’ll be able to focus on some other things.”
The next Lions Club Garage Sale will take place on Aug. 14.
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