Next sale in Brooklyn Center is June 7-8
by CHRISTIAAN TARBOX
Sun POST Newspapers
A volunteer community fundraiser affiliated with a statewide cancer outreach nonprofit recently held an attic sale meant to help cancer patients and their families.
The Angel’s Attic organization hosted the first of two weekend fundraisers on Saturday, May 17, and Sunday, May 18, at a storefront behind the Luther Buick GMC dealer on 68th Avenue in Brooklyn Center, selling new merchandise ranging from women’s clothing and jewelry to children’s toys and floral arrangements. All proceeds benefit its partner and main collaborator, the Angel Foundation, which offers non-medical financial support to those in the seven-county metro area suffering from cancer.
Angel’s Attic started five years ago, when the Angel Foundation joined forces with a group of former American Cancer Society garage sale fundraising volunteers.
“Most of us have done (this) 30 to 35 years,” said volunteer Kay Melemed. “When we stopped doing that, (fellow volunteer) Judy (Kauffman) had a cousin who was associated with Angel Foundation, and then he called me and said, ‘Do you think your volunteers want to do a sale for another organization?’ And I said they would probably love to.”
After the genesis of the group, support for Angel’s Attic swelled considerably.
“It’s taken an army to get this together,” said Kauffman. “There’s probably been 25 people (involved as volunteers).”
The sale, which will be held again at the same location on June 7-8, sold a wide variety of brand-new goods aimed primarily at women and children, including but not limited to women’s clothing, potted and hanging plants, wall decorations, vintage pop culture memorabilia, jewelry, hats and purses, and children’s toys and clothing.
Though the venue was smaller in scale this year, it didn’t deter a large outpouring of support from visitors.
“We were thinking it was going to be in a garage,” said volunteer Connie Posl. “And as we continued to get more things, we realized it’s not going to work in a garage.”
The storefront used for the sale was donated to Angel’s Attic by David Luther of Luther Automotive for the two weekend sales.
“They bought it, (and) they’re going to be tearing it down eventually, but they’re holding off until we (finish the sales),” said Melemed. “One of their employees is a volunteer for us, and David Luther has been very, very generous with donating buildings in the past. So they offered the building for us to use.”
An honorable cause
Since its inception, Angel’s Attic has transferred its donations to the Angel Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2001 by Margie Sborov, who became an advocate for cancer patients when her high school boyfriend Jim Deming passed away from leukemia. After marrying her husband (Deming’s best friend, Mark Sborov) in college, Margie created the Angel Foundation to provide emergency financial assistance to cancer patients unable to make ends meet due to expensive medical bills.
“(Margie) would hear stories of people who were coming in for their cancer treatments who were struggling financially,” said Angel Foundation President Mark Wilkening. “They cut back on their medication so they could pay their grocery bill. They were late to their appointments because they had to walk and they didn’t have bus fare. So she took it upon herself to, from a grassroots level, meet that financial need for those patients.”
The foundation offers two main services. The first is non-medical financial assistance to cancer patients and their families who either live in or are being treated in the seven-county metro area. The money helps pay for groceries, house payments, utilities and transportation. The second service is a resiliency and support program called Facing Cancer Together, where patients and family members are able to receive information on cancer diagnoses, speak about cancer and any associated fears, or ask questions regarding the issue in a safe and informative environment.
“It’s for the adults who have cancer, but this one focuses on education and support for the entire family with school-aged children,” said Wilkening. “We offer a variety of different programs for the whole family to help them … through (a loved one’s) cancer.”
Since its creation, the foundation has distributed more than $4 million in emergency assistance to over 20,000 people. According to Wilkening, more than 1,400 assistance grants worth over $800,000 were given away in 2013 alone. In addition to the yearly Angel’s Attic sales, Angel Foundation holds a variety of fundraisers to contribute to the cause.
“Our signature event is our gala in January,” said Wilkening. “This past year, over 725 people came to the event (at the Minneapolis Hilton). We raised over half a million dollars.”
There’s also the Angel & Eagles Golf Classic, which is being held this year at the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington on July 28.
“We raised over $160,000 last year,” said Wilkening. “It’s a great day of fun and golf, but it’s an opportunity for us to tell our story.”
Part of that story is the overwhelming support and hard work put in by the volunteers, said Wilkening, especially the workers of Angel’s Attic.
“This truly is an army of volunteers that comes together to do good in the community,” said Wilkening, whose mother and best friend both battled cancer in the past.
“I believe it’s in their blood to do good and help others in the community, and to be good servants and volunteers,” Wilkening continued. “It’s the amazing servant hearts of these people who are detail-oriented, they love community. Not only does this raise funding for Angel Foundation, but it helps us tell our story to many new people.”
For more information on the Angel Foundation, visit mnangel.org. The next Angel’s Attic sale will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 7-8 at 4321 68th Ave. in Brooklyn Center. Half off already reduced wholesale prices.
Contact Christiaan Tarbox at [email protected] or follow the Sun Post on Twitter @ecmsunpost.