Angel’s benefit sale Oct. 12-16 will be the final of the all-volunteer effort
by Brian Rosemeyer
Sun sailor Newspapers
After four years and countless volunteer hours devoted to raising money for cancer patients and their families, the Angels will leave the Attic in 2013.
The fourth and final five-day Angel’s Attic sale will be held at the Four Seasons Mall in Plymouth on the southwest corner of Hwy. 169 and Rockford Rd. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 12-16.
The sale features new and used merchandise of all kinds in support of the Minneapolis-based Angel Foundation.
The foundation provides nonmedical emergency funding for cancer patients and their families. For example, if a person is diagnosed with cancer and cannot afford mortgage or rent payments due to overwhelming medical bills, the Angel Foundation will help.
This Year’s Sale
More than $150,000 was raised at last year’s sale and an estimated 6,500 shoppers turned out.
This year’s Attic sale consists of more than 20 departments in the Four Seasons Mall’s shop spaces including electronics, furniture, housewares and men’s and women’s clothing.
One of the most interesting aspect 2013’s Angel’s Attic is the Alsadu gallery of art and artifacts from around the world.
Private collectors amassed the Alsadu collection over a number of years throughout the Middle East and Asia. The gallery recently went up for sale and remaining inventory was donated to Angel’s Attic, which will offer all pieces in the collection at 75 percent off the original price.
Hand-woven rugs, statues hundreds of years old and unique artwork are some of the treasures found in the extensive Alsadu collection.
The sale is cochaired by Kay Melemed and Judy Kauffman, and was founded after a group of volunteers from the American Cancer Society Garage Sale heard about the work the Angel Foundation does.
This year, the sale has a volunteer effort of nearly 100 people helping to pick up, price and sort merchandise.
The work done by the volunteers means low overhead, and they have been able to find a number of different businesses to provide funds. Walmart, which owns the property, has donated the entire space and the utility cost. Because of all the donations, more money can be given to the foundation and in turn given to the families who need it most.
Admission to the sale is $3 on Saturday only – there is no cost for admittance for subsequent days. All items will be sold at half-price the final day of the sale, Wednesday, Oct. 16.
Leaving the Attic
Melemed said the decision to discontinue the sale came in September, after a vote by the core group of volunteers behind Angel’s Attic.
Although more than 100 people help out at the sale, Melemed said a group of about 15 members work year-round collecting goods, coordinating pick ups and sorting inventory. That core group, Melemed said, has become significantly overworked.
“We’ve had to deal with fewer volunteers and more requests,” she continued. “And obviously we’re all getting older. From the physical aspect of it, we’re just not able to keep doing it anymore. We’re all just sick that we can’t, but we really just can’t.”
The reason for the large amount of work behind Angel’s Attic stems from the immense popularity of the sale, which grows significantly each year it’s held.
In the first year, the group raised about $45,000, the next year’s sale netted $72,000 and Angle’s Attic broke $150,000 last year – almost doubling each year for a grand total of nearly $300,000.
“That was a lot of work,” Melemed said. “I’m thrilled by it, we all are.”
Angel Foundation President Mark Wilkening joined the organization in August and said the Angel’s Attic Sale was one of the first items he learned about as president of the nonprofit.
“Their dedication to this effort is unmatched by others,” Wilkening said. “The year-round work of these volunteers is amazing. When I came to visit for the first time, I really saw that it’s just incredible what these volunteers have been able to do for us.”
Wilkening continued to say that the sale makes up for about 5 percent of the $2 million annual revenue – a figure that, he said, would be missed.
With the money raised by the attic sale, Angel Foundation has been able to help a number of families in need, including one of the Angels’ own.
Mary Brickley passed away from cancer at age 45 in August. Mary and her mother Carol have been involved with the volunteer group since the early days of the sale.
After she was diagnosed with cancer, the Angel Foundation provided financial support to Mary including gas cards and grocery cards while she was undergoing treatment.
Carol continued volunteer work for the sale through the loss of her daughter.
“I’m still working because I still believe in the help Angel gives,” said Carol. “We have all angels here who do this work – it’s a good thing. And now we have angels up there who are helping us down here.”
Following this year’s sale, the Angels will come together one last time to hold their annual banquet. After that, the group will begin the arduous task of clearing out the Four Seasons Mall Site.
It takes a lot of devotion to commit to such an undertaking for four years running.
“The way they do it with so much love, for the work and the sale, makes it a win-win all the way around,” Wilkening said.
On the final day of the sale, Melemed said everything will be available for purchase. The tables, bookcases and equipment used by the Angels are negotiable; they won’t need them anymore.
Melemed did note that, while there’s no chance of the attic sale being revitalized by this group, the talented and compassionate group of volunteers will be waiting in the wings, should their aid be needed.
“We are a force,” she said. “I told Angel Foundation that if there’s some big project, something they need, just one email and the angels will all flock together and help.”
For more information, visit mnangel.org.
Contact Brian Rosemeyer at email@example.com