About 10 years ago, Cavern Baptist Church decided to have a “free” garage sale to help people in need. The Carlsbad, New Mexico, church asked its members to donate their unwanted “stuff.” Then, on the date they picked for the garage sale, they set up the items in the parking lot. Word-of-mouth advertising was the only publicity, but many people in need showed up.
The church also accepted monetary donations, which were sent directly to the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home in Portales. Everyone who came to the sale received Bibles, which were provided by the Baptist Convention of New Mexico in both English and Spanish.
Over the years, the event has grown tremendously. With help through community and church donations, the church holds three or four sales each year. The community not only donates items but helps with “sale day.” Albertson’s A-Team provides physical help with setup and sale preparation.
Jean Bryant, the church’s music director and church clerk, coordinates the receipt of donations, sorting, recruiting volunteers and other preparations for the sale. In between garage sales, Bryant meets with anyone requesting assistance to see if the church can meet the need.
The December sale offers Christmas decorations, children’s clothes and toys. Donated used toys must be in good working order, be clean and have any needed batteries already installed.
In 2021, in addition to the new toy donations, the church received approximately $2,500 in donations to purchase new toys. As each family arrived, they received a ticket to shop and register for a drawing for several new bicycles. At least 120 families received toys and other items.
Marilla Denny noted, “God has truly blessed this ministry.”