Authored By: Meghan Hunt, Assistant Vice President, Finance and former Bargain Sale Chair (2016)
The Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties (JLDOC) is rich in tradition and history. At 80 years old, how could we not be? The JLDOC has helped develop some of the most influential women leaders and has contributed greatly to the community through its programs and volunteer hours, but there are a few achievements that stand out.
Bargain Sale – our longest running fundraiser – might top the list. Not only because it has been held the past 78 years, but because it impacts every part of the JLDOC’s mission — developing the potential of women, improving our communities and promoting volunteerism. As our community needs change and our members evolve, so must our programs. We are retiring Bargain Sale this year as we embark on new opportunities to fulfill our mission. As we end the 2017-2018 League year, we would like to recognize the great legacy of Bargain Sale.
The first Thrift Sale was hosted in 1940, and in 1971 that the sale took on the moniker that we now associate with the event, Bargain Sale. Over the years, the JLDOC has provided gently used items to be sold to members of the community, and the funds raised helped support some of our most notable programs, from founding Welcome Baby, to sponsoring the Children’s Museum, now the Museum of Life and Science, to today supporting Farmer Foodshare in their efforts to bring healthy food to people who need it.
Bargain Sale would not be possible without the help of all League members, but there have been select groups of dedicated women, during the last 78 years, who have served on the Bargain Sale Committee and made this event happen year after year. These League Warriors have devoted countless hours, blood, sweat, sometimes tears, but always laughter, to pull off this momentous event each year. It is their dedication and passion that has helped drive this fundraiser for so long.
When asked to reflect on her time serving on the Bargain Sale committee, former JLDOC President and Bargain Sale Chair Lauren Dickerson said, “I made some of my best friends and learned so much about the League, our community and myself. I grew as a leader and volunteer. I can honestly say Bargain Sale was truly my favorite JLDOC experience and I will always be grateful for the dust, dirt and ‘treasures’ I found along the way, in the form of friendships, experiences and memories.”
I, too, am a past Bargain Sale Chair and it will always be one of my favorite placements for two reasons. First, for how the Sale connected me with members of the community. At my first Bargain Sale, I remember a woman asking me about the Junior League –who we were and what we did. After I stumbled through my responses as a newbie, she smiled and simply said ‘thank you for all the work you do to put on this sale’ and I know the challenging work was worth it. The second reason I loved this Bargain Sale placement was for the wonderful women I have worked with over the years. Bargain Sale is kind of like baptism by fire. You come out on the other side of the event with not only a sense of accomplishment, but also a strong connection to a fierce group of women.
One of the most heart-warming impacts of Bargain Sale I’ve heard is from Shannon Tucker, a former JLDOC President and Bargain Sale Chair. Shannon shared, “When I was JLDOC President, I was thrilled the Board of Directors voted to donate all of our profit from Bargain Sale Preview Night’s silent auction to Communities in Schools of Durham. We gave a scholarship to one of its graduating seniors, threw them a wonderful graduation dinner, and donated thousands of dollars to its English department. It felt like we were living up to our mandate to make Bargain Sale serve our community, not just the League’s finances. This is what I think Bargain Sale truly stood for – giving back to our community, training our members to become leaders and forging new friendships. And isn’t that what the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties is all about?”
I could not have said it better myself.
As we move forward with new ideas and endeavors, we wanted to share a final thank you to the many women who have lead and supported Bargain Sale over the past 78 years – whether you were a chair or you hit your credit card max in the boutique section – you were enabling the mission of the JLDOC. For that, we are forever grateful.