Clothing sale adds up to support worthy cause

Four generations from one family took part in the 2010 Cash For Clothes event in Camden. They are (from left) Morgan Flanders, Cheryl Anderson, Emma Teel and Renee Flanders assisting shopper Diane Schelble. This year’s event will take place Saturday, May 21, at the American Legion hall in Camden.
Photo courtesy of Daniel O’Connell
Four generations from one family took part in the 2010 Cash For Clothes event in Camden. They are (from left) Morgan Flanders, Cheryl Anderson, Emma Teel and Renee Flanders assisting shopper Diane Schelble. This year’s event will take place Saturday, May 21, at the American Legion hall in Camden.
Posted May 13, 2011, at 3:52 p.m.
Last modified May 13, 2011, at 6:12 p.m.

CAMDEN — Nancy Wolfertz expects 100 people to be waiting outside the doors of her organization’s clothing sale. At least 100 more will be helping inside. She promises she has as many clothes as Goodwill, and it all has to go.

The annual Cash for Clothes Sale will benefit the Camden-based nonprofit Coastal Opportunities. Coastal Opportunities helps adults with developmental disabilities in Knox County by providing them with homes and daytime programming.

“I’ve been involved in this sale since 1975,” said Wolfertz of Owls Head, who is on Coastal Opportunities’ board of directors. “We have given Coastal Opportunities over $350,000. That’s a lot of $2 blouses.”

The sale will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21. The next day, prices drop by half. By Monday, anything you can fit into a grocery bag is $2.

“That’s a deal,” Wolfertz said.

The sale is Coastal Opportunities’ major fundraiser. They hold two each year: one for spring and summer clothes in May and another for fall and winter clothes in October.

The nonprofit accepts clothing donations all year. Some people agree to sell their clothes as long as they get half the proceeds from their sales.

And boy, do they get a lot of donations.

“We have truckloads. Truly truckloads,” Wolfertz said. “By the time we’ve sorted through the donations, we have to borrow a large panel truck, like a moving van, to move things to the American Legion Hall.

“We’re pretty particular. We don’t take things that are ripped. We’re not a yard sale.”

Most of the items for sale cost between $2 and $10.

“I got a down parka with an L.L. Bean label, and I paid $6 for it, and I thought it was pretty steep,” Wolfertz said. “Then, I saw a guy who got a suit for $8, and he thought it was a good deal. I think the highest price I paid was a fur jacket — real fur — for $25. I didn’t buy it; someone else purchased it, and I was thrilled.”

The sale started in the 1970s, when there wasn’t much competition for secondhand clothes in town. Now, the midcoast has several used clothing stores and two new Goodwills in Rockland and Belfast.

“In 1975, we were the only consignment game in town,” Wolfertz said. “Our [sale] numbers have gotten smaller because of all the consignment shops around. We have to work harder.”

The sale will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 21; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 22; and 7-11 a.m. Monday, May 23, at the American Legion Hall on Pearl Street in Camden.

Coastal Opportunities accepts clothing donations year round at its facility on Limerock Street in Camden.

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