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Calvin Student Donations Benefit Church
May 17, 2006

For the 12th straight year, Oakdale Park CRC will be having a giant yard sale, offering clothing, furniture and household appliances, thanks to donations left behind by students in the residence halls at Calvin College.

Church volunteers will begin rounding up items for the sale in the lobbies of Calvin's residence halls beginning at 11 am on Thursday, May 18, an hour after the dorms officially close. The volunteers will return the following Monday, May 22, at 10:30 am to collect items from the college's Knollcrest East apartments.

"They have a parade of vehicles, and they usually have to make a couple of trips," says John Witte, Calvin dean of residence life. "If they didn't take these items, students would have to store them, take them home or dump them. It really reduces the amount of material that gets thrown out on move-out day."

The sale will be held at the church next month - from 9 am to 6 pm on Thursday and Friday, June 8 and 9, and from 9 am to noon on Saturday, June 10.

The proceeds will benefit Oakdale Park's children’s ministries.

"It's a big deal," says Julie Veeneman, a co-chair of the sale. "It's a connection to people in our neighborhood. People come and shop for hours."

Veeneman says that once all the donations have been collected at Calvin the sorting process takes about another three weeks.

"If it would not be sold at Goodwill, we do not put it on a table," she says. "We get a kick out of what kids leave behind sometimes. There are usually lots of really nice sweaters, and we joke about how we can picture mom saying when the kids come home at the end of the summer, 'Where's that sweater Aunt Helen gave you?'"

Furniture will be sold outside in a tent, and clothing and other items will be on sale in the church, Veeneman says, an arrangement that will allow the sale to proceed "rain or shine."

The sale, which typically nets the church upwards of $5,000, began in 1994. It was the brainchild of Kristin Vandenbosch, a resident of Calvin's Bolt-Heyns-Timmer residence hall and the daughter of Oakdale Park's pastor.

The sale is now a venerable Calvin tradition that proceeds without any major snafus, says Witte.

"We've had mix-ups before where they've picked up a bag that they shouldn't have," he says, "but we've never had anything serious happen. It's a great partnership. It benefits our students, and it benefits the church, as well as the many folks who come to the sale."

~written by media relations staff writer Myrna Anderson