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Neighbors of Kane County

Enjoy a Local “Treasure Hunt” at the Immanuel Lutheran Giant Indoor Garage Sale

By Jeanette Dall 

Treasure hunts are fun and exciting. One version of a treasure hunt is to be given a clue which leads to another clue and so on until the treasure is found. Another kind of treasure hunt is one in which teams are given a list of things to find and the first team with all the items is declared the winner. Of course, you could spend lots of money and time searching for a sunken treasure ship or a lost gold mine.

There will be plenty of items for kids at the event like clothing, toys, books, DVDs and bikes.

But none of those things are necessary. Batavia has its own fabulous “treasure hunt” where thousands of items are available to anyone. The real name of this treasure hunt is Immanuel Lutheran Giant Indoor Garage Sale. The dates are July 18-20 at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, 950 Hart Road, Batavia. The sale times are: Thursday, 8-4 and 6-8; Friday, 8-4; Saturday, 8-1. Saturday is also Half Price Day and at the last hour is the Bag Sale--$5 will buy a bag of goodies.

Cindy Rueffer has been heading up the garage sale since 2006. This is a big undertaking and the planning and work is year-round, starting in August right after the sale while it is still fresh in the minds of the workers.

Many volunteers help to make the sale run smoothly and successfully. Anyone from middle-schoolers on up can help before, during, and after the sale. “This is a unique ministry. But it’s a great time to catch up with friends, work your own hours, have some laughs and help others. God has blessed us with helpers that have a heart to help in this special ministry. I’m very grateful for them—even non-Immanuel buddies who just like to help a great cause,” Cindy said.

Looking for some nice furniture, a bike or toy, or maybe some clothing for your family. You can find a great variety of those items plus hundreds more that cover all categories from books and DVDs to holiday decorations and china. The only things you WON’T find are TVs, cribs, mattresses, computers, and paints or chemicals.

Volunteers help with check-out at last year's Indoor Garage Sale. 

You could find an unusual item such as a dentist chair which was donated one year! Three people actually came on Saturday (Half Price Day) to get it. The winners were a couple of young men who were going to use it in a haunted house!

The money from the garage sale is used to help in various ways at Immanuel. Every year funds are raised for wish list items not included in the church budget. Some of the items over the years include metal folding chairs, blinds in the gym, appliances for the kitchen, new entrance doors, carpeting, and many more. This year’s money will be used to fund new outdoor lawn equipment and updates to church and school conference rooms. 

When asked what happens to items not sold Cindy replied, “Over the years, we’ve had many organizations share in our bounty. First, we allow Immanuel teachers to ‘shop’ for their classrooms (if they volunteer to work). We also let CHIP-IN and the Batavia Clothes Closet shop during our Bag Sale for free. We have other churches ask for donations for their sales or clothing giveaways, so they are also invited to shop during the Bag Sale for free. We’ve been blessed to be able to help numerous other charitable organizations over the years.”

Cindy recalled some memorable moments that happened during previous garage sales.

Young man going on his first job interviews. The lady volunteers found him a suit, shirt, tie, shoes and briefcase—all for under $10. The grin on his face was awesome!

The mom who said through tears, “Thank you for doing this sale every year. It is how I do my back to school shopping.”

The new teachers who furnish their classrooms with books, games, and DVDs.

It takes a lot of motivation to tackle such a huge job, year after year. Cindy summed it up this way, “Everyone has gifts and talents to share. We all pick that thing that motivates us and gives us joy. This ministry event brings all ages together during preparation and participation. This ministry is what our family is passionate about, trying to help others and having fun! I have people around town ask me when the garage sale is every year. I guess we have a tradition—and a good one at that! It isn’t about the stuff we sell or the money we earn to buy the extra items for Immanuel Church and School. We are abundantly blessed at Immanuel and this event really lets us bless others. Our true work is in helping others: giving hugs, sharing smiles, and scatting acts kindness among everyone who walks through our doors July 18-20.”

Source: Lori St. Vincent