Charity sale a success at local Belk
by W. Winston Skinner
The line for the Charity Sale at Belk at Ashley Park snaked around the building as time for the 6 p.m. start arrived.
The sale and fundraiser Nov. 2 followed weeks of ticket sales by local non-profits. The first 100 customers in the store received free Belk gift cards ranging in value from $5-$100.
Once in the store, the crowd dispersed throughout the building — trying on shoes, comparing dresses, checking out lipstick and fragrances and marking off early Christmas shopping lists. Shoppers continued to arrive at the — either bringing tickets purchased from charities earlier or buying one at the door — until 10 a.m. when the sale was set to enter.
Doughnuts were provided to give extra fuel to shopping to the early morning participants.
Volunteers for participating churches and non-profits checked in at the back door.
“This is my first volunteering,” said Casey Padgett, an East Coweta High School student who is a new member of Family Patterns Matter’s youth advisory board. Members of the youth organization are working to raise awareness of problems related to bullying in schools. “My friend told me about it,” Padgett said, explaining how she came to be part of the group.
Michelle Foster and her mother, Judy Shaw, came from Grantville to shop for a mother-of-the-bride outfit for her son’s wedding next year. Several people brought lists for Christmas shopping — often using several tickets as they made multiple purchases.
The store had done a large amount of pre-sales with people selecting items earlier in the week to be rung with Charity Day savings on Saturday. Andrea Chitwood was one of the first to arrive to pick up her pre-sale selections.
Chitwood has purchased her ticket from the First Baptist Church Senior High Choir. The choir was selling tickets to raise money for their choir tour next year.
Joy Shirley was one of the volunteers selling tickets at the front entrance. She was there representing Friends of the Southern Crescent. The friends group provides things senior citizens need ranging from disposable adult diapers and Ensure to assistance with rent.
Longtime participants — including Andrews Chapel United Methodist Church, Emory Chapel United Methodist Church, Breakaway Child Care Center and the Newnan Pilot Club — were joined by newer groups selling tickets.
Members of the Marine Corps League — in their bright red hats and shirts — helped shoppers carry packages to their cars. Rosalind Edmondson of Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Lone Oak wore a T-shirt with a sketch and name of the church for her stint selling tickets.
Among the other participating organizations were Amazing Grace, the Atlanta Area Benedict College Alumni, CARE, Delta XI, Grantville Kiwanis Club, Heard County Library, Faith Creek United Methodist Church, Rush Ministries, Heard County Lions Club, West Georgia Technical College, Spring Hill Church Choir, St. Smyrna Baptist Church, Senior Paws and Furry, Sigma Kappa — Atlanta Alumnae Chapter and Lamda Alpha — Beta Sigma Phi.
The Charity Sale is held twice each year at Belk. The spring sale raised more than $5 million for nearly 8,000 schools and community nonprofit organizations in Belk markets, and last year, the two Charity Sale events together raised a total of more than $10 million for participating charities.