The Used Clothing, Toy & Equipment Sale has been one of Parent Talk's biggest fundraisers since it started in 1993. The sale takes place on a Saturday, with over 200 volunteers donating their time and close to 10,000 items purchased. In honor of National Volunteer Week and in anticipation of the upcoming May 5 sale, our inaugural Volunteer Spotlight shines on the two women whose organization and commitment make the sale happen.
Beth McCarthy has lived in Needham since 2004 and has been a Parent Talk member for four years, ever since her daughter Hannah was young. The upcoming sale will be the fourth one that she has co-chaired, however she volunteered for previous sales by working on lawn signs, working in the clothes area, helping with flyers and working in the back office. When asked about her favorite memories of the sale, Beth said "I just love working with so many people who care about the same things that I do, and really enjoy connecting with people while you work whether about the great deal you just found, what your child loves and is searching for, how your child is doing overall, or some issue you are trying to solve and getting different perspectives and advice. It is so fun finding great deals - like a frog sandbox for $5, a beautiful dress for $5, an Ariel vanity table for $20 or a Barbie ride-on car for $20. I love seeing the mass of clothes and toys come in and get all organized into a beautiful sale that so many enjoy." When Beth isn't busy co-chairing the sale, her hobbies include volunteering, crafts, exercise, Israeli dancing, travel and theatre.
Seema Meloni has three boys (ages 7, 5 and 3) and has been a Parent Talk member since spring 2007. She is completing her tenth sale as a committee member and her fourth as a co-chair with Beth. Seema got involved in the sale through attending a committee meeting in August 2007 and was immediately hooked by the event and the fellow volunteers. She says, "I love the hours I've spent down in the trenches with so many amazing volunteers. There have been some nutty times, for example the completely unexpected snowstorm in the fall 2011 sale - I could not get over the commitment of all the volunteers that kept dragging in all those donations in that horrible weather. Seeing so much generosity (not only in the donation of items, but also in the volunteers's time and hard work) over the years has been absolutely touching and is the best overall memory that I take away from this sale." Seema's hobbies include spending time with her kids, volunteering, reading, knitting, and baking.
For pulling off an event twice annually that requires a level of organization akin to planning a class reunion, a flea market and the running of the bulls all wrapped together;
For making the volunteer (and shopping) experience so meaningful that people return year after year;
And for their healthy sense of humor during the inevitable hiccups that happen when you are moving hundreds of people and merchandise in a 4 1/2 hour window,
We gratefully shine the spotlight on Beth & Seema!
If you are interested in volunteering at the sale, or if you have any questions, please email. Please note that the May 5 sale will be bittersweet, as it is the last that Beth & Seema will be running. If you have an interest in co-chairing, or just want to find out more about what is involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Volunteer Spotlight is new addition to the Parent Talk blog. If you know of someone who has gone above and beyond for Parent Talk - either consistently or helping out in a pinch - please email his or her name to email@example.com as we'd love to share his or her stories.