Eric Butler: PNT Correspondent
Pickup trucks and horse trailers are nothing new at the Curry County fairgrounds, but — pickup trucks and horse trailers full of toys, furniture, exercise equipment and enough clothing for a small army?
That was the Saturday morning sight as organizers of a hurricane relief yard sale accepted donations from Clovis and Portales residents.
“It’s a good cause. I know that the people of New Orleans and Mississippi need all the help they can get at this time,” said Diane Tunnell of Clovis who unloaded, among other things, an exercise machine from the back of her pickup.
“The Nordic track, well, we probably could use it but we haven’t been, so maybe somebody else will.”
Organizers were loading donated goods into three buildings at the county fairgrounds. One more day, next Friday, has been set aside for community members to donate more items. The sale will then take place the next day.
“We’re going to have fantastic deals. This will be the number-one yard sale to go to on October 1st,” said Mary Weigl, administrator at the Senior Citizen Resident Center, one of several groups putting in a helping hand for the Saturday sale.
The point of the sale was originally to benefit the victims of hurricane Katrina, but the scope increased when hurricane Rita began to menace Louisiana and Texas this week.
Dan Williams, one of the chief organizers of the yard sale, says money raised from next weekend’s event will go to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the Second Harvest Food Bank.
“It’s all coming out of the idea that these people need help,” said Williams, who helped initiate the idea by contacting several charitable organization representatives just after Katrina made landfall.
“We had the first meeting the Thursday after it hit. The next Tuesday, we had 12 people at that meeting — it just kept growing.”
Williams said the first donations on Saturday came in between 8 and 9 a.m. By midday, one of the fairgrounds’ buildings was rapidly filling up with donated goods.
“People have been real generous in bringing things over. It’s remarkable what a little talking has done in bringing things in,” said Williams, an Department of Health employee.
“We’re supposed to be getting some trailers from Portales late this afternoon and we’ve got another day of intake.
“We are concerned about running out of table space especially,” Williams added. “We’ve got clothes just coming out our ears.”
Much of the volunteer help on Saturday came from three Boy Scout troops: Troops 226 and 411 from Clovis and Troop 18 from Portales.
Williams said he was grateful for the boys who were criss-crossing the unloading site with boxes.
“They are really great. A lot of them are really big enough to be a big help in moving the really big stuff,” Williams said.
Adult volunteers were present as well. Willie Bibbs, a regular Salvation Army volunteer, was driving to homes in Clovis to pick up items.
Several students from Clovis High were helping Bibbs load furniture and other large items.
“It’s community service day today for the (CHS) Teen Court, so we have five of them. That’s really a blessing,” Bibbs said.