No price tag

Trash and Treasure sell reaps priceless rewards

Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church Relay for Life team captain Linda Smith checks out a treadmill during the Trash and Treasure event at the church last year. This year’s Giant Trash and Treasure Sale is at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 1.

Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church Relay for Life team captain Linda Smith checks out a treadmill during the Trash and Treasure event at the church last year. This year’s Giant Trash and Treasure Sale is at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 1.

Organizers of the Mount Lebanon Giant Trash and Treasure Sale don’t have to worry about haggling over a sell or figuring out what to tag an item for their big sale for Relay for Life.

For the most part, the thousands of items offered have no price tag.

They keep the same philosophy when they hold a Sunday dinner fundraiser or a book sale for their Relay for Life Team, “The Freedom Fighters.”

It comes down to faith, team co-captain Charlotte French said.

“We don’t price anything. That is the beauty of it. Unless we have something really nice like a piece of silver, we don’t put a price tag on it,” she said.

French said they promote the event by advertising it among church members and in the local papers. The event this year will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 1.

“We take donations the night before Trash and Treasure. People bring gobs of stuff - furniture, appliances, household items, tools - everything you can think of. We collect the items on Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. before the Saturday event,” she said.

Relay team members and church volunteers sort through the items and put them on the tables.

“We try to put like things together so there is some semblance of order. We work as late as we need to and open Saturday morning at 8 a.m.,” French said.

When a customer brings their items to the front to pay, they are told to donate whatever they can to the church’s Relay for Life team.

“Over the years we first worried that by not pricing, we would short-change ourselves,” said French. “But then we thought, ‘We’ll let God take care of it.’”

French said some customers walk out with garbage bags full of items and have only a few dollars to pay while others buy two items and donate $50.

“It all works out, and it is amazing how that happens,” she said. “We’ve gone from the first year making a little less than $1,000 to last year when we made a little more than $3,000.”

At the end of day on Saturday, Knox Area Rescue Ministries picks up all items not purchased and gives the church vouchers they can give to individuals in need who can shop at the K.A.R.M. thrift store.

Trash and Treasure is the team’s largest fundraiser annually. “We’ve been doing this as a church probably for five or six years. We have called ourselves the Freedom Fighters,” she said. “We’re fighting for freedom from cancer. Our Relay team has grown from a few people to about 25 people.”

The team also prepares dinner for the congregation one Sunday every other month as a fundraiser. “We cook for between 200 and 300 people,” she said.

They also have a book and media sale where people can donate CDs, DVDs and old VHS tapes. “People come and get bags and boxes of books and give what they can,” she said.

The team members also solicit donations from individuals to sponsor team members who walk during the Relay, and they sell items during Relay events. The same “no price” philosophy is used each time.

“We learned early on if we price something, we feel we are limiting God, so we don’t price anything and it all works out,” she said.

French said the church’s team has been the No. 1 fundraising team in the Church Division for three years. In 2009, they were the No. 1 overall team in fundraising in Blount County out of 100-plus teams that participated.

“This year we set a $15,000 goal for our team, and we’re close to achieving our goal,” she said.

The 2010 Relay for Life in Blount County -- a 24-hour event -- is from 3 p.m. May 21 to 3 p.m. on May 22 on Maryville College Campus.

The congregations’ Relay for Life team also will spearhead a fundraiser in Knoxville at 6 p.m. on May 14 at the Tennessee Theater, 604 S. Gay St., Knoxville. Dr. Bill Snyder will give participants a private tour, all part of a special evening honoring church member and Blount County Chamber Partnership president Fred Forster. Donations for the evening are appreciated and checks can be made to the American Cancer Society - Mount Lebanon Team.

Rev. Raymond Burnett leads the church located at 3508 Wildwood Road at the corner of Wildwood and Peppermint roads. Trash and Treasure is in the activity center in the back of the church.

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