Patrons can come find great deals in one of the many “departments,” which include everything from men’s and women’s clothes to antiques to appliances. After purchases are made, the Alliance with Washoe County Medical Society (AWCMS) gets money to give away to nonprofits and nursing students.
“It is the biggest thing that we do and many times I have thought personally that is why the organization has been so successful,” said Nancy Evans, a past local AWCMS president and a Sparks resident. “We have had a common goal for members to work on.”
On Saturday, the AWCMS will hold its 59th annual rummage sale. Founded in 1947, the AWCMS has worked for more than 60 years to promote health throughout the community. Though the traditional name of the sale has stuck, the group’s 240 or so members consist of a few female physicians’ husbands, spouses of 22 area medical students and some supportive friends. Evans said 2009 was a record-setting year for the annual sale, raising $74,000, which she said was due to a higher volume of items and of higher quality. On Thursday morning, representatives from most of the 19 nonprofits that were given grant money from the 2009 proceeds came to the Reno Livestock Events Center to receive their checks and get a sneak peek at this year’s sale.
This year, the group is aiming for another big payday to be able to give away even more.
Evans said that when the group started the sale, it gave money just to nursing students at the University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College. Now, the funds are divided between the schools and local nonprofits. Recipients of the 2009 sale proceeds included a muscular dystrophy clinic, a camp for diabetic children and adults and after-school programs.
“What seems to be happening is we’re making a little bit more each year,” said Rene Rores, a past president and past rummage sale chair. “When we were at 40 years we tried to make $40,000 and at 50 years our goal was to make $50,000. For the last 10 years we’ve been raising about that much.”
Saturday’s sale will take up the entire exhibit hall at the events center. It begins at 8 a.m., though past president Rene Rores said the line of die-hard treasure and bargain hunters begin lining up as early as 6 a.m. Many of these folks want to not just get their place in line but also socialize with like-minded shoppers. Some of these early risers are particularly interested in the “Treasures” department, where they look for antiques or other collectibles.
The line usually thins out by 10 or 11 a.m., she said, allowing more casual shoppers instant access — after they pay the $3 admission.
Rores said shoppers should bring cash or checks with them; credit and debit cards are not accepted, though there is an ATM inside the hall. Electronics have been tested to make sure they work, she said, and buyers can plug items in themselves before making a purchase.
Customers should also know that if they smell food, it is just for the 120 or so workers. Rores said the group couldn’t sell food because it would be a whole extra hassle to get the necessary health department approvals.
The sale will be held on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Livestock Events Center Exhibit Hall, 1350 N. Wells Ave. in Reno. Admission is $3 for adults age 18 and older (under 17 admission is free). Parking at the events center is free.