Beyond the garage

Beyond the garage
The St. Rose Philippine Duchesne garage sale in Florissant is one of the largest charity fundraisers in the region
By Charlotte Beard

This is the season for seeing an increase in garage sales with signs and flying balloons to point the way for traffic or a passerby. However, there might be few garage sales, if any, that are fondly thought to be seen from outer space. For the 13th year St. Rose Philippine Duchesne in Florissant will be hosting its annual garage sale with a purpose at its school located at 3500 St. Catherine Street. The Huge Garage Sale event will take place June 15 and June 16.

“[Throughout] the year a lot of people in our parish and other parishes know that they can get rid of good quality things in their house by having us pick them up,” shared Father Tom Wyrsch. “We have a certain amount of storage room. One year we rented an extra storage pod. The garage sale covers an entire high school campus. Our school [consists] of about nine buildings on 3500 St. Catherine Street. The garage sale extends all through those nine buildings. I call it the garage sale that can be seen from space. There is everything from exercise machines, sporting goods, electronics, clothes, a vast [number] of toys, dishes, and a large amount of large furniture. [We have] dining room tables and chairs, beautiful living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture.”

Certain items at the annual event are stated to go very quickly. For those who wish to pay $10, there is an early bird admission on June 15 from 1 pm – 3 pm. Doors are open to attendees for free 3 – 8 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Father Tom shared an additional opportunity for the following weekend.

“A week later, Saturday, June 23 everything is half priced from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. There are a lot of holiday decorations. I get more Halloween decorations every year. There are a lot of Christmas decorations. [There is] a jewelry room, bikes, outdoor furniture – the outdoor furniture goes quick. That’s a thing that people come and pay early-bird for.”
The idea for this event originated with another parish prior to St. Rose’s inception in 2005. Since that time St. Rose has taken the reigns of hosting the event which Father Tom shares has grown over the years. Last year the sale raised more than $25,000. The funds go towards the general usage of the parish. “

Some of it goes towards the school,” shared Father Tom. “We have a lot of buildings to maintain. There’s not any one cause. It is our largest fundraiser of the year. It brings in more funds than anything else.”

Father Tom shared what he believes to be the benefit in St. Rose hosting this annual garage sale.

“The first benefit is that yes, it’s a fundraiser for the parish. The second benefit is that we believe we are helping the environment because it recycles goods instead of people having to have all new things all the time. These are quality goods – all the furniture, all the toys, all the clothing. Third, it does provide very inexpensive goods for our neighbors. We get a lot of people throughout the neighborhood coming. [Some] drive in from a [other] places [such as] Illinois. So, we feel in all three ways it’s a benefit. It is kind of a ministry. I believe very much in helping the environment by recycling good things. It gives a lot of people [an opportunity] to buy inexpensive, very high-quality things.”

Though the parish has already begun collecting items for the sale, anyone still wanting to rid their homes of quality items can drop items off at the school June 2 through June 9. Drop-off hours vary depending on the day of the week. Those interested are advised to check the website for the exact times:

The event would not be possible without their core of approximately 60 volunteers. However, the full scope of the event requires a lot more help. Theresa Brandt who has been involved with the event for approximately 10 years and is currently working with a team to organize the event, shared that the entire event takes a lot of man hours. She shared that from the planning phase to completion an estimated 4,500 volunteer hours combined is used.

“The week before the sale what they need are people to sort out all the goods,” shared Father Tom. “There is a tremendous volume of goods. On the day of the sale [we need] people to just walk around and help people make their purchase.”

Father Tom went on to share an incentive for the parents of students who attend the school.

“We give a break to our [student] tuition if the [parent] does some of the volunteering at this [event]. Last year we had 800 parent volunteer hours.”

Those who are interested in volunteering the week prior to the event or during the event can contact Theresa Brandt at 314-303-1720. For more details about volunteering or the event visit: