Belk Charity Sale helps local groups

by W. Winston Skinner

The biannual Charity Sale at Belk at Ashley Park brings people together for fun, non-profit fundraising – and shopping, too.

The Spring Charity Sale was held May 3 from 6-10 a.m. People who had purchased tickets from local non-profits came to the store — the first 100 getting gift cards of varying amounts at the door – to shop and get extra savings.

Patricia Cornish from Palmetto was the first person in line. She got to Belk at 3:30 a.m., she confided. “I just love Belk’s clothes,” she said.

When the front doors opened at 6 a.m., the line of shoppers snaked around the store. The sale is held each spring and fall, and the fall sale is always more robust because people are beginning to shop for Christmas gifts. Suzie Hartman, store manager at the Ashley Park location, said interest in the spring sale has been building from year-to-year.

Several churches and a wide range of nonprofit groups sold tickets for the spring sale and sent volunteers to help on the morning of the event. Shirley Craven sold tickets for the Ephesus Public Library in Heard County.

She said the money will help keep the library operating. “It’s so hard for them to get money,” Craven said. The Charity Sale is a great way for groups to raise money “particularly when you’re from a rural county,” she said.

Jodi Vaughn from Rosemont Baptist Church was one of several volunteers at the store from a church. She said the tickets sold at Rosemont will help fund an Alaska mission trip this summer “to work with children in Anchorage.”

Retired educator Carolyn Taylor has been working with the Charity Sale for eight or nine years. She sells tickets for the Benedict College Alumni – Atlanta Chapter. Taylor, a graduate of the South Carolina school, said funds raised from Belk ticket sales go toward scholarships.

Vaughn helped in the housewares department, and Taylor offered doughnuts and coffee at the refreshment table in the cosmetics area. Sharonda Tigner, representing Breakaway Childcare Center, bagged purchases in the men’s department.

Like Taylor, Tigner has helped her charity by selling tickets and working on Charity Sale day before. “I do it every year,” she said.

Last year, the two Charity Sale events raised a total of more than $10 million for participating charities through the area served by the Belk chain.

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