St. Gianna’s Closet’s highly anticipated, annual Used Toy Sale is to be held this Saturday., Dec. 5, at St. Thomas Church in Derry.
Liz Neville, who founded St. Gianna’s Closet and manages from her Londonderry home the gently used clothing collection for local families in need, organizes the toy sale in advance of the holidays each year to raise money for St. Thomas’ food pantry and outreach program.
“The food pantry is always asking for food donations. They don’t have enough food stocked,” Neville said, recognizing the growing demand for the services of local food pantries in Southern New Hampshire. “In addition to the food pantry, St. Thomas has a pretty significant outreach program – for example, if someone can’t pay a bill, they can get help through the church.”
Featuring a wide range of donated toys in great condition, the sale, held in the Aquinas Center at St. Thomas from 9 a.m. to noon, has seen consistent success, bringing in about $3,000 in the three hours of the sale each year, according to Neville.
While her initial motivation for the used toy sale was to support the church’s food pantry and outreach program, Neville was pleased to learn the event was also satisfying a need in the community for affordable children’s gifts.
“Every year people come up to me with tears in their eyes because they are so grateful for this toy sale. I have heard all kinds of stories – like, ‘I can’t work anymore, and now I can afford toys for my grandchildren or children.’ It blows you away, the whole atmosphere that day,” she said. “People are just so happy. On Black Friday, people are killing each other to get that TV on sale – it’s not like that. Overall, the attitude is just so positive.”
While Neville has discovered the toy sale is popular among families who are struggling financially, she said shoppers from all walks of life enjoy the fundraiser.
“Anyone who wants a deal comes,” she said. “Here, you can get a toy in great condition that may have been $30 for $6 or $7. It’s a win-win on every level.”
Those who wish to shop this year’s sale should be sure to bring cash and their own bags.
Donations of gently used clothing to St. Gianna’s Closet may be dropped off at St. Thomas Church, or on the driveway of Neville’s home at 5 Isabella Drive in Londonderry.