The annual Little Flower Catholic Youth Organization flea market drew a steady stream of shoppers to the basement of the Little Flower Church on March 11-12.
Members of the youth group prepared the basement with long tables filled with assorted clothes, shoes, books and other items, then stood ready to help customers browsing through the inventory.
Lisa Volk, CYO Coordinator, said of the sale, “There was tremendous support from the community.”
Volk and CYO members Carter Teigen, Zach Selensky and Jacob Selensky joined the Catholic missionaries for a meal of pizza and soft drinks before tackling the task of packing up unsold items for shipment to the thrift store Sainte-Anne at Belcourt.
“I worked the first shift on Friday when we opened,” Volk said, adding when she went down to the basement, “The dining room was half full. The doors were closed for the clearance sale and I thought they had a meeting. I opened the doors and didn’t turn on the lights and everyone started coming in. It was like Black Friday with Christmas shopping.
“I am grateful for the support we have received not only from donations from the community, but also from people who have come out to shop,” Volk added.
Volk said customers ranged from shoppers interested in bric-a-brac to people who had suffered tragedies.
“There was a family that was here yesterday and they were doing quite a bit of shopping. I was told afterwards that they had had a fire in their home and that they had nothing left,” Volk said. “So I was told this was an opportunity for them to restore what they had lost.”
Customers paid for their items with voluntary donations.
“That way people gave what they could do and what they were comfortable with,” Volk said. “We had a lot of support.”
Teigen said he and two other members worked the last part of the sale and were happy to help the missionaries.
Teigen added, like all CYO activities, the thrift store sale gives members an opportunity to put the church “Three S” spiritual, social and service mission in action.
“We just started packing and we still have some left,” Teigen said.
He said his family had donated baby clothes they no longer needed and “everything from pajamas to sweatshirts and winter outerwear.”
Teigen said the CYO participates in other activities to help those in need.
He added, “What we do goes beyond helping the poor and disadvantaged. We do a lot for anyone who needs something to help them. We donate items to the Women’s Care Facility of Devils Lake to help women and their unborn babies. We have many more ways to help.
The missionaries who came from Belcourt to collect the items from the rummage sale had the help of students from the St. Paul’s Newman Center at North Dakota State University in Fargo.
Asher Mercereau, an NDSU student volunteer, said: “We have a recurring mission trip. I don’t know how long it’s been going on but I went last year and I’m riding it this year. It’s a great time to give up some of your spring break to help out.
Reverend David Brokke, associate pastor at St. Anne’s Mission, is a missionary with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, or SOLT, who serves the poor in communities around the world.
“We have 14 missionary volunteers who are up there in Belcourt and they help serve in a variety of capacities such as the thrift store,” said Reverend Brokke.
Reverend Brokke said that although SOLT missionaries help run the thrift store, the idea to establish it came from Turtle Mountain resident Sandra Champagne.
“The main manager of the thrift store is Sandra Champagne — she’s our mother; she is our cook; she’s everyone to us,” said Reverend Brokke. “She’s amazing. She’s from the Turtle Mountains and she thought the store would be a great way to serve the community while benefiting the church.
“As an example of the work she did, last year selling items for 25 cents to $1, two years ago she made $6,000 for the church,” said Reverend Brokke. “This year it was $11,000. So, every Wednesday and every first Saturday of the month, people line up to buy items from the thrift store. »
“I think the store provides a necessary service for families who might be struggling economically to help them get clothes for their children or for themselves, especially winter clothes which might be a little harder to get. in winter. Just having this as a service to them is invaluable,” said Reverend Brooke.
He said he was happy to be part of the mission, “Just seeing everyone there (in their work) is inspiring.”
Anna Hilb, who helps Champagne at the thrift store, also bagged unsold thrift items from the CYO thrift store.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Hilb, a SOLT missionary from Alabama, spoke about her work. “It’s life-changing in a way. It’s exciting and scary, in a good way.
Hilb said she was helping Champagne “do a lot of sorting out the clothes and putting them on the racks. Every Wednesday we are open, so we are there to help her, help people, call them and put the clothes in bags.
Hilb said thrift shop customers appreciate the variety of items for sale.
“They don’t have a lot of options to buy clothes,” Hilb said. “Walmart is about 40 minutes away and here are dollar stores about 10 miles away.”
“On Wednesdays, the parking lot is full to bursting”, Hib added. “And the clothes aren’t as expensive, because it’s a second-hand store. People can buy clothes for their children or for themselves, or buy good shoes. We also donate clothes to the homeless there and a lot of the clothes also go to (the school at Mission Sainte-Anne). We sent lots of snow pants, jackets, hats, gloves and shoes to school for the kids to use.
“It’s fun to go and see around me” Hib added. “It’s something to do. Also, many people in the Belcourt community donate items because they know how important it is for help to go back.
St. Anne’s Thrift Shop is open the first Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call (701) 477-5601.