6th Annual Trash 2 Treasure Generates Crowds and Revenue

by Allison Shultes '15
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Trash 2 Treasure, the charity-driven yard sale held annually in the Lamb-Miller Field House, has grown into a Swarthmore-scale Black Friday as community members assemble in the early hours of the morning for a first peek at the treasures abandoned by departing students. With approximately 100 bargain hunters lined up by 8 AM on Friday for the "early bird" sales, the event, now in its sixth year, has grown both in scope and in generated revenue. This year, the sale brought in more than $26,000 for the United Way of Southeast Delaware County - a new record. The inaugural sale in 2006 raised $12,000.

From refrigerators and sofas to records and dishware, the sale offers a vast array of goods, all of which are donated by students and community members at the end of the academic year. Shoppers come both to hunt and browse, determined to score home furnishings or content to wander through the maze of donated clothing. Sunday's $5 bag sale offers some of the best prices of the event, although free admission encourages shoppers to stop by throughout the weekend.

According to student worker Chris Shay '13, the Friday early birds came on a mission this year. "Everyone rushed straight for the electronics and couches," he said, recalling the morning mayhem. "From eight this morning until 10, the line for pricing stretched almost [all the way across the gym]."

Brian Johnson, assistant professor of Russian, perused the lamps on Friday morning. "I'm definitely surprised by how much stuff the students have and throw out," he said, looking around the field house.

The variety in itself is startling. Large desk chairs sit abandoned; Halloween costumes hang in front of an eclectic collection of scarves and ties; posters and student artwork lean against railings. $500 worth of DJ equipment remained unclaimed as of Friday afternoon, as did track spikes, a superman cape, and stacks of books starting at $1. Shopper Daniel Cho '13 thought the collection of donated condoms was among the more interesting items for sale.

The bargain prices are too good for many to pass up. "I think I'll leave with a bagful," Cho said while still early in his shopping. "It's kind of hard because once you come, you want to buy everything because it's so cheap, but then you realize you'll probably have to throw it all away yourself eventually... I'm trying to control myself."

Beyond offering shoppers hard-to-beat prices and raising money for organizations in Chester, Trash 2 Treasure serves an environmental purpose by recycling products that would otherwise end up being trashed. Shoppers rescued a total of 13.5 tons of goods from landfills this year, including over 1,000 books, 876 pairs of shoes, 32 rugs, 12 printers, and 126 mini-refrigerators.