MORRIS – Dozens of volunteers help annually during First Christian Church’s Price-less Day, including up to three generations of some area families.
This year’s annual Price-less Day, scheduled for Tuesday, is just around the corner, and donations are needed. The event is like a free garage sale where community members can donate household things they don’t need anymore, then two days later the items are offered free to those who can use them in their own homes.
During the 11 years of Price-less Days, dozens of members of First Christian Church in Morris have spent hundreds of hours volunteering their time to help bring the donated items inside, triage them to the correct rooms in the church, fold, stack and display the goodies and be there for assistance when the public comes to do their free “shopping.”
There are even three generations of volunteer family members in some cases. Diane Finch, of Mazon is one of them. She and her daughter Heather Clark and grandchildren, Stephen and Casey Roesel, have been involved in at least five years of the event. It meets a huge need, according to Finch, and her reward for all the hours she puts in is seeing the people it helps.
“They leave with garbage bags in their arms and tears in their eyes,” she said. “I’ve heard people say, ‘Now I don’t have to buy my kids school clothes this year.’ ”
She loves preparing the huge spaces in the church with her family. It teaches them something when they work for others, she said. And the day of the “sale” really makes it all worth it.
“At the end of the day, you are dog tired,” Finch said. “But to be able to see the line of people who are waiting for the doors to open and to see them pick their things. ... It’s just rewarding to see that.”
Her daughter, Heather Clark, said she began volunteering for the event after shopping there herself.
“I hadn’t been in a great place myself,” Clark said, “and I needed help. Later, I decided to pay it back.”
Clark is on the core committee now, and her job is in the sorting room. It can be a dirty job, she said, but it’s fun to see what comes through those doors. She sees clothes, sports equipment, dishes, suitcases, shoes, toys, blankets and just about everything else. Some, they discard. No junk makes it through to the floor.
She gets a kick out of some of the old-fashioned electronics that people donate.
“You see electronics that you haven’t seen in years, like all the VCRs and older radios,” she said, “but stuff like that some people still want.”
She loves that her mother and her children also help. It teaches the kids good lessons, she said.
“The best part is knowing that you’re doing something to help people in your own community,” she said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Price-less Day co-director Diane King has been volunteering for the event all 11 years. Her three children have always put in a lot of muscle helping, too, although between college and the military, only one of her sons will be volunteering this year.
“We saw a need in our community,” she said, “and we wanted to help people in our church and in our community. And it’s all free. It’s available for anybody who wants to come, and we’ll even help you out to your car.”
The fact that three generations of some families volunteer makes it more special, she said. It’s great to work together, she said, and build memories as a family.
Kathy Isbanar of Braidwood and her daughter, Rusti Hassellbring and grandchildren, Hannah and Ben Kraus, all of Mazon, are another three-generation volunteer family.
“I thoroughly enjoy what Price-less Day is all about,” Isbanar said, “and the ministry that goes on is unbelievable.”
One older widower brought in his recently-deceased wife’s clothing. Isbanar said he looked at her and said, “I think this will fit you perfectly,” handing her a brand new down coat. He didn’t know it, Isbanar said, but her husband had just lost his job, and she could use his gift.
“I felt like we were ministering to him at the same time he was ministering to me,” she said. “And that happens every year.”
Isbanar loves working with her grandchildren during the event, too.
“The best part is serving the Lord together as a family,” she said, “and being able to teach my grandchildren what service is all about.”
What: An event where community members can donate items they don’t need any longer or visit during the “shopping” day and take items they can use, for free.
Items can be donated: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the west side of the church. Volunteers will be there to carry your items inside. Have bags labeled for content, such as “kitchen items” or “boys size 3T and 4T.”
“Shopping” day: 5 to 8 p.m. July 22. Enter through the labeled doors at the south entrance.
Where: First Christian Church, 455 W. Southmor Road, Morris.
Price: All items are free.
Donated items: Must be safe, clean, usable, in good working order and free of odors, stains, tears or holes. Some items will not be accepted at the site, but can be posted on the “Contact me Directly” board, such as items that require more than one person to move, reference guides and textbooks, construction materials, house paint, flammable materials, beds, cribs, computers, knives and firearms, appliances, couches and pianos. Call office to post.
For more information: Call the church at 815-942-3454 or visit www.fccmorris.org.