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Garage sale gives back to Vernon nature centre

Three-day event Sept. 16-18 is a major fundraiser for the Allan Brooks Nature Centre
Vernon’s Allan Brooks Nature Centre will hold its Mega Garage Sale Sept. 16-18. (Morning Star file photo)

The North Okanagan’s premier garage sale is back.

The Mega Garage Sale returns to Vernon’s Allan Brooks Nature Centre (ABNC) Sept. 16-18, your chance to find great items at reasonable prices while helping the centre raise funds for continued community programs.

From meagre beginnings in the early 2000s, a dedicated group of volunteers began fundraising through auctions. Their work eventually spawned a garage sale of mammoth proportions. Originally off-site, the event moved to the ABNC grounds.

“The centre’s upper turn-around will have hundreds of items for sale, including antiques, trinkets, furniture, tools and artwork donated by businesses and individuals,” said Mel Maglio, one of the sale’s organizers.

“It’s an extraordinary undertaking,” said Maglio of the event. “We plan for months and the actual setup takes two-to-three weeks. We have a core group with the youngest being 69 and the eldest volunteer, Ada, being a very young 93.”

Maglio’s zeal for nature and people is evident.

“We do this to ensure ABNC can continue improving awareness about our ecosystems for our community and the younger generation,” he said. “It’s so important that we all know about the value nature brings to each of us.”

Irene Maddox, another long-standing volunteer and member of the ABNC Society, is excited about the Sept. 16 opening date.

“I’m passionate about the animals and our environment,” she said. “It’s important to reduce, reuse and recycle. This is such a pristine place, and so important to have an awareness and appreciation of the natural environment around us.”

Like Maddox, most of the garage sale volunteers have been involved for years. Maddox and Maglio both acknowledged local businesses like Kal Tire, Julia and Wade Cantalope of Elephant Storage, and VantageOne as major supporters of this event, saying without them, the challenges would be insurmountable.

These kinds of events are critical for ABNC which is privately funded, with no federal or provincial funding. Maglio estimates between $250,000 and $300,000 has been raised through the garage sale efforts since its inception.

“It’s the people,” said Maddox. “The people who come to the centre and support the fundraising, and the volunteers. That’s my favourite part. We’re like a family.”

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