Winnipeg’s premiere Jumbo Sale celebrates its 25th anniversary on Sat. May 30 at 603 Wellington Crescent from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
For the past quarter century, Steve Lennon and Linda Henderson have devoted their time and talents to the yearly event for the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg.
Just as donated items often are from another era, the name Jumbo connotes 18th century England and is a synonym for gigantic.
Items are donated all year and folks travel from near and far for the one day fundraiser which has earned a reputation as a destination event.
While Lennon has seen many changes over the years, the one recollection that really makes him chuckle is of a young man who had never seen an 8 track cassette player. “There was a time when 8 tracks were a big seller here,” he says with a smile, “now they are a collector’s item.”
“Not only is it interesting to see what people value,” says Lennon,“but what gives me the greatest pleasure is seeing items being re-used.”
He also revels in how often he overhears shoppers saying, “Oh wow! Look at this.” It makes all the sorting, cleaning, pricing, scheduling, and set up worth it.”
“The volunteers become like family and the excitement the sale generates is tremendous,” he says. “I sleep for days after.
“The community is terrific and the challenges aren’t challenges at all,” Lennon adds. I enjoy the public, even the hard core hagglers.”
What makes extra work for the crew is what he calls “the cushion of conscience,” which happens when people donate margarine containers and garbage cans with holes in them and things that really need to go in recycling but they can’t bring themselves to do it and offload it onto the Jumbo.
Unitarians are worldly and donate fabulous things from around the globe ranging from Persian rugs, art, and items made from brass, silver, gold and the occasional diamond. This year there is an Inuit ulu and even some “mystery items” that no one knows what they are such as the ones below made in East Germany:
Besides small appliances and kids toys, people who are downsizing will donate unique collections, such as salt and pepper shakers, ducks and frogs.
Linda Henderson, a behind-the-scenes Jumbo Sale volunteer from day one loves working on advertising and at the cash table. She has fond memories of when the sale first began on Banning Street.
“Moving to this indoor location means we never have to cancel because of weather and it’s a guaranteed opportunity to share our members’ generosity and welcome visitors to our spiritual home.”
“Everything about the Jumbo sale warms my heart,” says Henderson, “from the friendships that are formed when volunteers work together on a project to the fun of meeting all the people who grace our doors.”
Henderson speaks for all involved when she says, “it’s a labour of love,” and “if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have done it for 25 years.”