The Animal Care Center of St. John (ACC) hosted its first “mini-flea market” on Sunday, March 18, on a meadow behind the Gifft Hill School’s Fred Trayser field.
The “first ever” event was planned as a small fundraising effort to try to help the shelter bridge dwindling funds until more monies come in from Wagapalooza. “Waga,” as the May 19 fundraiser is affectionately called, is usually ACC’s major source of income.
Currently, the St. John humane society’s funds are at another all-time low. The shelter’s expenses have been much higher during the last 12 months, primarily due to employee expenses. Also, donations have been down during the past six months although the shelter has had great visibility from volunteer-sponsored activities such as the Christmas party at the shelter, the Valentine’s Day “kiss a dog” booth, and most recently, participation in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Only once in its history has ACC had to close the shelter doors because of insufficient funds to continue. That was back in 2005, and the Board of Directors is struggling hard to avoid that happening again.
In comparison to other fundraising activities on St. John, the $3,000 collected at the “mini-flea market” may seem small. Nevertheless, ACC is extremely grateful for every penny that the flea market attendees spent.
Despite the fact that the market was a new event, its location generally unfamiliar to islanders, and the “iffy” weather on Sunday, the turnout was fabulous! While board members were still hauling items for sale from the ACC storage trailer, cars were arriving along the dirt road and customers were hustling to the site.
Although the flea market was advertised as beginning at 10 a.m., the meadow was busy with customers by 9:30 that morning. Customers were not only arriving to shop but many of them were also arriving with items they were donating to the sale. The energy displayed by the community in support of this relatively small fundraiser was incredible.
While ACC board members Monica Munro and Elaine Campbell were hard at work setting up tables and moving boxes, faithful supporters were also hard at work. Jane Kyser raced about placing price tapes on the mountain of large and small items; Susie Preston was busily setting up her cash box and payment station; and former ACC president BJ Harris was helping to unload cartons.
The heroes of the day were mini-market organizer Jason Corley who, with Oriel Smith’s assistance, hauled furniture from the 40-foot container. Probably the heaviest items unloaded and sold were two new kitchen stoves. Even some of the customers lent a hand with those!
The St. John community had donated such a variety of treasures during the months preceding the mini-market that the storage container had been bursting at the seams. And when it was finally unloaded, gorgeous furniture, beautiful pictures, and myriad decorative items were revealed.
A handsome mahogany bedstead was probably the most expensive item which sold at $500. Brand-new single and double mattresses were on sale. An upholstered wicker easy chair from Caneel Bay Resort was quickly “snatched up.”
Several loveseats and half a dozen assorted tables were on display.
Assorted clothing was sold for the price of a donation. Kitchen wares, comforters, an awesome collection of seashells, goblets and bowls and beautiful wooden boxes were all sold for miniscule prices.
The success of the sale could not have happened without the overall support of St. John residents. And ACC rates the “success” factors not only in terms of how much money was collected, but also in terms of the goods donated, the number of residents who took time out of their Sunday morning to come up to the meadow, and, most of all, the energy and good cheer that radiated throughout the four hours of the first-ever mini-flea market.
The ACC’s major flea market, “No Fleas, Please” will again be in October in the Winston Wells ball field in Cruz Bay. If Sunday’s mini-market is an indication of what can be expected to be on sale, everyone should start marking their calendars now.
In the meantime, ACC is accepting donations continuously. Small items can be brought to the shelter on the library road in Cruz Bay, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Corley and Smith can be contacted to arrange pickup of large and heavy items, at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Once again, ACC thanks Caneel Bay Resort for their donation of the 40-foot storage trailer without which the shelter could not stockpile sale items. And ACC especially wishes to thank Gifft Hill School for its generosity in offering its meadow for the event.