Dump and Run shoppers snatch up useful items

Dump and Run shoppers snatch up useful items

URBANA – If you had your eye on the stuffed pheasant, it's too late.

Same for the 17-foot canoe – gone.

Today was the last day for the annual Dump and Run sale benefiting the University YMCA, with the $3 bag sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a free-for-all from 2:30 to 4 p.m. – as in, everything is free.

"It's a way for us to get rid of stuff," said Becca Guyette, director of development for the YMCA and guru for the annual event.

The three-day sale dates back to 2002, when proceeds totaled almost $10,000, and it's grown each year. Last year's sale brought in about $22,000, a total matched on the first day this year, Guyette said.

The YMCA collects student castoffs and other donations from the community each spring, then turns around and sells them in the fall when students return. The spring collection this year filled three semitrailers, and a supplementary dropoff event in August brought in enough to fill half the floor at the University of Illinois Stock Pavilion, said Willard Broom, the YMCA's interim executive director.

"We were in panic mode," Guyette said.

Saturday's crowds made a huge dent in the inventory. By Sunday, half-price day, the Stock Pavilion was fairly cleared out.

First-timer Bonnie Fortune, a UI graduate student, wished she had come earlier. But she found two nice lamps to use at her art studio, which has "really ugly overhead fluorescent lighting. You need drawing lamps so you can be inspired. Hopefully, this will be inspiring," she said.

She also picked up a book, "New low-cost sources of energy for the home" – published in 1975.

Tape-measure in hand, new UI freshmen Kathryn Long and Maggie Day of Springfield shopped for extra seating for their dorm room at Newman Hall. They had their eye on two couches with suspicious upholstery but nice modern lines, down to $10 each. Unfortunately, both were too long.

"We're dying for some extra space for people to sit around," Long said.

They eventually splurged on two wooden lounge chairs with black cushions, at $15 each. They planned to paint the frames bright colors to match their room decor.

"They're comfortable, too," said Day, an art and design major. "All this will take is a coat of paint and a wet rag and we're in business."

Not all the shoppers were students.

Jon and Kathleen Booth of Urbana found a four-drawer file cabinet for $15, a set of "The 12 Days of Christmas" glasses and a frosted glass bowl, circa 1940s. They were debating the merits of a metal cup for a malt machine, unsure if it would fit their model.

"I found it in the toys, next to some cornholders," Kathleen Booth said.

Laura Weiskamp of Urbana picked up some kitchen supplies for family camping trips and several white plates to add to her mismatched collection.

On Saturday, she found a roller shade for her porch and several items for her son's first apartment.

"I couldn't get too much, because he wasn't here, and whatever I picked out would be wrong," she said.

Darlene Maxwell was surprised to find so many items that clearly weren't from students – a Borg scale dating back to the 1960s, for example. Guyette said many of the donations now come from the community, not just college students.

The YMCA won't accept Christmas items, computers or televisions because they don't sell (although a few TVs snuck in this year). "Some people really give us their junk, which is sad. Some of it does get tossed," she said.

But each year brings some surprisingly valuable donations, including high-end stereo components, original artwork by known artists and one or two sets of "really nice furniture," said volunteer Joe Guyette, Becca's husband.

This year, someone donated a set of Paradigm speakers valued at $600 to $700, which have been advertised on Craigslist to get their full value.

"I don't know if people are doing it for the benefit of the tax writeoff, or they're just generous, or they don't know what they have," Joe Guyette said.

Among the most unusual donations: the stuffed pheasant, which sold Saturday, and the 17-foot canoe, which sold for $125 at Friday's pre-sale for volunteers.

"We got a kitchen sink once, so then we couldn't say, 'Everything but the kitchen sink,'" Becca Guyette said.

This year, Hendrick House donated 62 wooden chairs with leather insets, priced at $3. One fraternity bought 30.

"We had George Foreman grills in a stack as big as George Foreman," Broom said.

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