The Quesnel Lions Club is appealing to the community for help finding a new location for its Monthly Garage Sale, a major fundraiser that helps the club provide countless services and supports.
The Lions have been holding their Monthly Garage Sale in the Maple Park Mall for more than a decade, currently occupying six storefronts in the south end of the mall. The club recently received a letter from the mall owners saying they need to be out of the mall by the end of July.
Lions Club president Brent Oxenbury says they are putting out an appeal to see if there is a suitable location that won’t cost them too much money.
“We’re not going to be able to run this operation if all we do is pay the rent,” he said. “What we’re hoping for is someone who has a location that is suitable to contact us.”
The Quesnel Lions Club is looking for a space that is at least 4,000 square feet and is quite level because they are packing furniture in and out. They are also hoping any new location they find has a parking area and is easy for the public to access.
“I don’t know what we’ll do if we don’t find a location,” said secretary Sandy Oxenbury.
The Lions support a wide variety of other community groups, such as the Air Cadets, Big Brothers Big Sisters Quesnel and the Quesnel Ambassador Program, and they fund many community projects.
The club helps people with health and welfare services and travel, supports service club signs, provides food for seniors, donates to the community, builds ramps, supports food banks, recycles hearing aids, supports Coins for Diabetes and Recycle for Sight, and much more.
“It’s endless,” said Brent. “This [garage sale] has become our No. 1 fundraiser. It all comes back to Quesnel.”
Brent has been a member of the Quesnel Lions Club for 11 years, and he knows the Monthly Garage Sale was going before he joined the club.
“We had one storefront, and it’s grown immensely,” he said.
The Lions also open a special store at Christmas time, and they also make a big deal of special events like Easter, Halloween and Mother’s Day.
“It’s gotten so that in the summertime, people who have garage sales call us to pick up their leftovers, and we had to rent another storefront,” said Sandy.
“It’s amazing how much stuff gets donated to us and we sort through,” added Brent. “It’s grown quite a bit. We have some people who come to us regularly who come to our Wednesday workbees to get things first because they’ve seen all the old stuff.”
Brent says the garage sale has gotten more and more popular, and the club’s profit is now $2,000 to $3,000 a month.
Sandy says in a month, club members probably give about 300 to 400 volunteer hours for the sale. These volunteer hours help the Lions Club maintain eligibility for grants, and she says if they can’t continue the garage sale, it will be harder to get gaming grants without being able to demonstrate all the volunteer hours that go into the sale and demonstrate that profit and all the positive impacts of that fundraising.
During the Monthly Garage Sale, the Lions have a food concession, and they sell everything from furniture and bicycles to games, kitchen supplies, mobility equipment and electronics inside the stores and out in the mall. They hold a workbee on Wednesday mornings, and people have started coming to the workbees to get the early-bird deals.
“It helps a lot of people in need who are looking for stuff they can’t afford elsewhere,” said Brent. “It does keep us busy, and we draw quite a crowd. It’s great to have so many people volunteering and meeting up with each other. It’s a good experience, and it’s a lot of fun. It makes it worthwhile.”
Just this Saturday morning, June 29, the club donated pots and pans, beds and bedding, dressers and kitchen utensils, and more, to a grandmother with six grandchildren who needed a bit of help.
Brent says the club has about 40 members, and they usually get at least 20 helping out during the Monthly Garage Sale.
Brent says that with the items in the sale, if they can’t sell something, they are very careful to recycle it or dispose of it responsibly. They also donate a lot of items to people who need them.
After a garage sale, the Lions Club will take extra clothing to the Salvation Army, canes and other mobility devices to the Red Cross and clothing to Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“It really does provide a huge service to the community, and it would be a real shame if we had to close this up,” said Brent.
The Lions are not accepting any more pickups for the garage sale at this time.
To contact the Lions, call the Oxenburys at 250-249-5746 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.