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ITHACA, N.Y. — Are you looking for quality items at bargain prices?
One place to find such deals in Ithaca is at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca’s annual Grand Recycle Sale, starting on Saturday morning August 20th at Aurora and Buffalo Streets—the building with the red steeple. This sale has started back in the mid-fifties and the church has held this event for the public annually since.
Part of its mission is to support one of their Seven Principles—a respect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part. While recycling is an everyday part of the Unitarian’s commitment to the environment, this huge event is a larger way they involve the greater Ithaca community.
You’ll find rooms full of sporting goods, clothes, housewares, linens, crafts, books, electronics, furniture and lots more. All the items are neatly arranged in separate, well-marked rooms or “shops”—sort of like a mall. All donations are collected for weeks before the sale so a large part of the preparation is sorting and tagging items so only the best items remain for purchase.
One of the more amusing displays is in the church’s sanctuary which becomes a shoe department and art gallery during the sale. Hundreds of pairs of shoes and boots are spread across the church platform; the adjacent parlor becomes the rug and furniture department. If a donated bookshelf comes in needing some touch- ups, a volunteer member grabs the tool box and sets about making it more appealing for a student’s dorm room.
As many congregation members put in many sorting hours, they get “first dibs” at buying items as a benefit of donating their time. Volunteers say one of their big challenges is trying not to buy so many things as they sort because “We get in some of the most amazing things,” says Nancy Miller, department head for clothing.
“Quality name brand clothes—even evening gowns—show up as we unpack the hundreds of boxes and bags of donations.”
The co-chairs of this massive event are Marie Benedetti and Carol Whitlow. Their organizational work started in earnest in May recruiting volunteers and meeting with department heads so things run smoothly.
On small budgets, many returning students eagerly outfit their dorms and apartments with kitchen items, linens and small furniture pieces.
The Unitarian Grand Recycle Sale opens its doors at 9am on Saturday August 20th and runs until 4pm. On Sunday, hours are 10am to 4pm with everything being half-price. On Monday, everything that remains is free by donation. If you think you can use some of this great stuff, come and hunt.