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Bag a deal at Noah’s Ark annual Bag Day sale

By Staff | Aug 12, 2010

Carol Orr Hartman Bag Day at Noah’s Ark will be held on Friday, Aug. 13 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bags will be sold for $3 which can be filled with donated items from the store. Pictured are Betty Carr and Jane Adams, co chairs for the Bag Day event. See page 22 for the full story.

For those who consider shopping a sport and euphoric rush akin to plunging and riding at great speeds on a roller coaster, you might want to get your hunting and gathering outfit out because the granddaddy of island shopping events is going to happen today.

Bag Day at Noah’s Ark Thrift Shop, 2304 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel will be on Friday, Aug. 13, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

For $3 – the average price of a TV dinner – customers can buy a Bailey’s brown paper sack and fill it with whatever they can from the thrift shop.

This is the last day for shoppers to patronize the thrift shop until it reopens again in the fall. After Bag Day, the store will be closed for cleaning at which time donations will not be accepted – Aug. 9 through Sept. 1.

During the closed days, volunteers will move racks, wax floors and sort new donations for when they reopen.

Noah’s Ark will reopen Friday, Oct. 1 and operate on a Tuesday and Friday schedule through October. Beginning on Sept. 1 donations will be accepted at the dock in the rear of the building. The volunteer staff cannot accept TVs. In November hours will increase to Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Bag Day and the annual Fashion Show — held in the spring — are two of the most sought-after island events for bargain hunters.

Sandi Cornell’s eyes glittered as she discussed going to Bag Day.

The frequent Noah’s Ark shopper said she delights in finding silver trays for use during the Christmas holiday. And she is especially proud of scoring a sexy, black crepe dress for her daughter to use while receiving a prestigious journalism award in NY. The saucy confection cost her $15.

And what does she hope to snag on Bag Day?

“Whatever I can find,” she said.

For Cornell, Bag Day is not just about saving money — it’s the thrill and the hunt. For shoppers like Cornell, Bag Day fulfills a sort of primordial need to hunt and gather.

Shoppers can expect to find an assortment of clothing, books – many new and many knick knacks, said Jane Adams, a Noah’s Ark volunteer.

“There’s a lot of everything,” she said.

The volunteers get ready for the shopping days with loads of bags and the patience of… well, a saint.

Volunteer Betty Modys smiled and described the day as “insane”.

Fellow volunteers chuckled while preparing merchandise in the back of the shop. Some recall over zealous shoppers who believe a bag full means past the brim and up to their chin. Adams said she remembers one year a woman stuffed her bag with men’s ties to make a quilt.

“Some people get very creative,” she said.

Volunteers said many people from throughout the state and outside it call to check on the date for Bag Day because they plan their vacation around it.

Customers socialize and forage for deals.

“People have a great time coming to Bag Day,” Adams said.

And the St. Michael’s Episcopal Church clergy and volunteers at Noah’s Ark are more than happy to support folks need to shop and socialize.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity not only to get some good deals but more importantly it’s an opportunity to help those less fortunate locally and globally,” said the church rector Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan.

Money raised from the proceeds of Bag Day and the store’s regular sales help those in need.

“We regard it as the ministry,” said Betty Carr, a volunteer and coordinator for Bag Day.

The volunteers laugh and have fun while they work. For many of them the time spent at Noah’s Ark fulfills not only their mission to help others but gives them a social life. Modys grins at her fellow volunteers who are chattering away about a whimsical coat that just arrived.

“We like each other,” she said.

A sense of purpose with like-minded people benefits the community and globe.

Noah’s Ark raises over $100,000 to help those in need annually, Sloan said.

The man- and woman-power that goes into running Noah’s Ark makes their contributions possible, she pointed out. More than 100 volunteers unpack, fix and prepare donated items for sale.

“They love it,” Sloan added. “They really want to help people in need.”

All proceeds from the sales will go to two dozen local and national charitable organizations. To date, the thrift shop has helped organizations such as Brightest Horizons, Community Housing Resources, Fort Myers Soup Kitchen, F.I.S.H., Girls Making It On Purpose, Habitat For Humanity, PACE Center for Girls, Hope Hospice, Southwest Florida Addiction Services and Quality Life.

For additional information about Noah’s Ark, call 472-3356.