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Austin 360

I had so many questions about the Settlement Home Garage Sale. Volunteer leaders Marilyn Willson, Margaret Scott and Michele Brocatoanswered many of them during the preview party at the Palmer Events Center. Then Andrea Ball's American-Statesman story on Nov. 4 answered the rest of them.

Just one look at the hundreds of thousands of items for resale in the vast center was enough to convince me that this fundraiser is a yearlong effort. As Ball reported, the Garage Sale, which will return next year, brings in more than 15,000 people and up to $500,000 a year to fund the treatment center for abused, neglected and emotionally troubled girls. Volunteers are collecting, cleaning, organizing and moving the massive trove of cast-offs every month of the year.

I surveyed what seemed like acres of clothing, shoes, furniture, books, DVDs, posters, toys, hunting gear and even some high-end-looking silver and china. Familiar Austinites — Ann Showers Butler, Lance Avery Morgan, Denise Gamino, Pat Brown, David Stark, Dick Rathgeber, for instance — were waiting around every corner.

The Settlement Home is one of Austin's oldest charities. I always group it in my mind with the Helping Hand Home for Children and Austin Symphony Orchesta. The three have found proven ways of raising money by tapping into the loyalty of volunteers. Let's hope they continue to do so.