The Greater Baltimore Medical Center's semi-annual Nearly New Sale will begin on Saturday, May 5, kicking off an event that benefits both the hospital and the community it serves.
Mary Kay LePage, a Towson resident who serves as publicity chair for the sale, said money raised for the hospital through the sale goes directly to patient care, be it for new equipment or staff training.
"It's all very oriented to whatever is going to make the patient's stay better," she said.
According to hospital spokesman Michael Schwartzberg, the sale raises about $250,000 per year for the hospital.
Volunteers collect and sort materials with little break throughout the year for the sale, and the result is that the sale is an opportunity for community members to improve their wardrobe or buy some basic household necessities at low cost.
"Although we do have some shoppers who just like to shop, we do have a lot of shoppers who are economically deprived," LePage said. "They don't have the budget people would like to have, and this enables them to buy things that are a little nicer."
LePage works as a cashier at the sale, and said she hears great stories from customers. Some use the nice clothes they buy for job interviews, while others are stretching their funds to buy things for their children.
The sale is the culmination of a long six months for LePage and 80 other volunteers who make it happen. According to LePage, the group tallies around 24,000 hours of service between the two annual sales, with some dedicating more than 1,000 hours individually.
They begin sorting through new boxes just two weeks after the previous sale. They never know what they'll find.
"You find some very unique items," LePage said. "You might open a box and find a beautiful kimono, or vintage World War I or World War II helmet, then you might find somebody is cleaning out a house and they dumped every drawer in the kitchen into the box."
LePage said some people think the sale is all about clothing, but it also features furniture, jewelry, small appliances, sporting goods, toys and fabrics.
"You name it, we've got it," she said.
The Nearly New Sale at GBMC, 6701 N. Charles St., will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6. The sale will continue from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 7, and remaining items will be sold at half price from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9, and Thursday, May 10.
The spring sale will conclude on Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., when shoppers can fill a brown paper grocery bag with merchandise for $5. For more details, go to http://www.gbmc.org/NearlyNewSale.