Local Denton charity hosts community style garage sale

Local Denton charity hosts community style garage sale

Local Denton charity hosts community style garage sale
August 05
16:41 2018

A large, industrial-sized fan blows air quickly throughout the inside of a barren and unfinished 10,000-f00t section of a warehouse where the increasing Texas heat makes its work progressively more futile. Inside this warehouse is neither the usual machinery nor is it filled with boxes of organized products waiting to be shipped. It is instead filled sparsely with donated items such as furniture, clothes and other knick-knacks piled on top of each other.

The event held here is an indoor community-donated garage sale put on by the local Denton charity Serve Denton at its local Serve Denton Center.  

Women looking for clothing available for purchase at Junk You May Need sponsored by Serve Denton. Emily Olkkola

“We collected donations from the community to have a garage sale because we have this big warehouse space until we start construction,” Carlie Kuban, executive director of Serve Denton, said. “We are starting construction in the fall, so I figured we have this big space and it is a good opportunity to get people out to the building to see the space and to make a little bit of money. It is a one-time event, but we may do another one again this summer just to raise a little bit of money to support the operations of the center.”

The event itself was similar to a large garage sale, with long tables piled with various donated items and racks filled with clothes of all sizes and shapes. While there were the usual items that you would find at a garage sale such as this, a key difference in this event was its large selection of furniture which included many stylings of couches and over thirty different office chairs.

The event, which ran for two days in the morning and early afternoon in an unfinished section at Serve Denton’s Center, saw a constant flow of visitors coming to check out what the center had to offer. A few visitors, like Patricia Sparks, said that they came to the event because of the cause the money raised was going toward.

“This serves a really good cause, so I thought I would just stop by and see what they had,” said Gwen Rooker, a self-described “garage sale-er” who has been going to garage sales here in Denton regularly for the past 25 years. “At my age, you never know what fun thing you’re going to find, and I never go looking for anything specific because you are not going to find it. It’s a good way to exercise, spend some time and find some junk you don’t need. Other than that, it is just a fun thing to do and sometimes you find some nice bargains.”

Serve Denton helps provide low-cost rental space to other local charities in order to let these other charities not have to worry so much about rent and instead put more money toward helping the community. The group originally started in 2001 under the name Denton Assistance Center but failed to gain much traction. It was only in 2011 when the group was approached by another group of like-minded individuals that they were able to start buying properties to rent out to other charities.

Junk You May Need sponsored by Serve Denton. Serve Denton Center provides care for the community including classroom and meetings. Emily Olkkola

Serve Denton tries to fill many roles with the buildings it owns, from providing housing services to the underprivileged to having a space for those who are underinsured or not insured at all to come and receive treatment. To provide these services, Serve Denton partners with other charity groups, like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Recovery Resource Council, to bring them all under one roof so that someone in need of help is able to get all the aid they need without running around town.

The Serve Denton Center provides much more than a single place for those in need, however — it also provides a space where these otherwise separate groups are able to come together and find ways to care for the community more efficiently. The center also provides classrooms and boardrooms for meetings and classes that can be both used by Serve Denton members and non-members.

“We — people who don’t need services — make the mistake of thinking that people who do know [these services] exist know where they are and can get there to get them,” said Rob Houdek, a member of Serve Denton’s board. “There is such a spirit in this town — people are just so eager to help — and it has just been a blessing. People really, really care, and we are fortunate to live in this town.”

In addition to this event, Serve Denton also holds many events throughout the year, most of which involve teaming up with other local businesses, such as the Denton County Brewing Company and Bearded Monk, to raise money.

Serve Denton already has plans to keep expanding its Serve Denton Center campus to become the second largest nonprofit center in Texas. The most immediate plans that the group is working on are to make a new space for Denton Community Food Center and completing the work where the garage sale was held, as well as renovating it into a medical center and pharmacy for Health Services of North Texas.

“We really just want to see our community get the help it needs and become self-sufficient,” Kuban said. “There are just a lot of people who are in need of our services, and our community is continuing to grow. Once we add the clinic, children’s advocacy center and the food center and have all four phases done, we are projecting for 16,414 people to be served in the first year by all the agencies.”

Featured Image: Toys available for purchase at Junk You May Need sponsored by Serve Denton. Emily Olkkola

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Shane Monaco

Shane Monaco

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