PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 6, 2012

Groves Beautification Committee fosters community, raises funds through garage sale

Brooke Crum
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — At the Groves Beautification Committee garage sale Saturday morning, patrons could find handmade jewelry and scarves, glassware, Christmas decorations and hardback books that cost $1 each — among other things.

But more than just off-the-wall, low-priced items, patrons could find a sense of community among the 28 vendors at the garage sale.

John Rabalais, a member of Friends of the Groves Public Library, stopped what he was doing at the garage sale when a patron dropped some money on the floor. He called to the woman who had dropped the money, but he did not know her name. Several other people stopped to help, and together they managed to return the cash to the right person. Then Rabalais returned to selling books with a smile.

The 27 other booths at the garage sale were similar in scale and sentiment. They offered reasonable prices and a friendly, inviting demeanor to anyone who approached.

“Everyone seems to enjoy it,” said Olivia Wellings, chairman of the garage sale committee and GBC trustee.

Wellings said people were here waiting at the Groves Activity Building bright and early Saturday morning, ready to spend some money in support of the GBC. Proceeds raised from the garage sale would go toward decorating Celebration Park for Christmas.

Friends of the Groves Public Library, a nonprofit organization that raises money for the library, had a booth at the garage sale, offering paperback books for 50 cents a piece and hardbacks for $1. The books were donated to the group, and 100 percent of the money made at Saturday’s sale would go to the library, Rabalais said.

The nonprofit meets with the library staff each year to discuss goals for the library, and the funds that Friends of the Groves Public Library raises go toward tasks such as repairing the parking lot and purchasing new lobby furniture.

Alma Nelson set up her booth Saturday morning next to her daughters’, Kari Nelson and Kaitlin Foster’s, booth. Alma Nelson sat crocheting scarves with lacy yarn as people strolled by, and her daughters offered one-of-a-kind, handmade jewelry and accessories at the next booth over.

For the past 40 years, Alma Nelson has been crocheting and selling the products of her labor to friends and fellow churchgoers through her business and Facebook page, Alma’s Yarns and Such. She just recently started making scarves and was offering them for $25 each.

“It keeps my hands busy,” she said.

Bill Windel, a Port Arthur resident, stopped by the garage sale with his dog Houdini to check out the bargains being offered and to meet other people who took the time out of their Saturdays to support the Groves Beautification Committee.

Jartha Kinsella, a resident of Groves, went to the garage sale with a mission in mind: something green to wear to church and Christmas gifts for her family.  While she did not find anything green, she did pick up one of the hardback books for $1, “The South Beach Diet.”

Kinsella said she went to the garage sale to support the GBC since it was putting all the proceeds from the garage sale toward Christmas decorations for Celebration Park.

“It’s going to be gorgeous,” she said.

bcrum@panews.com