By Dave Ongie, News Editor
In years gone by, the Junior League of Johnson City used to hold a Bag-A-Bargain event that drew people from near and far to Freedom Hall in hopes of finding quality, gently used merchandise at a low price.
The event thrived on donations collected from members of the community, so virtually all of the proceeds went to further the mission of Frontier Health. Rebecca Henderson, a JLJC Sustainer Advisor, was a member of the Junior League in the early days of Bag-A-Bargain, and she remembers the how successful the program was in its heyday.
“Our first Bag-a-Bargain was held at Freedom Hall in 1992,” Henderson said. “We looked at it as a three-pronged approach to help the community. We were able to help people who needed to be able to get low-cost items. We were able to clean out our closets and also help other community members clean out their closets because we do take donations. And then the third benefit is that it allowed us to raise money for the community.”
The first Bag-a-Bargain sale was held on Nov. 7, 1992, and by the end of the day, $30,000 had been raised. Henderson, Lottie Ryans, Kathy Linebarger and Cindy Torbett were among the Junior League members who helped launch the fundraiser, which eventually moved to the Appalachian Fairgrounds before eventually being phased out.
Now a new generation of Junior League members is preparing to resurrect the Bag-a-Bargain event. The return of Bag-a-Bargain is scheduled for Saturday, May 4 from 7:30 a.m. until noon inside the old gymnasium at Fairmont Elementary.
Lizzie Majors and Kristyn Graham are among the current crop of Junior Leaguers collecting items from the community in preparation for the event. Henderson is serving in the role of Sustainer Advisor, drawing upon her experience to help make sure the relaunch of Bag-a-Bargain is a rousing success.
Majors said the new members have received some valuable advice from their Sustainer Advisors as to which items are more likely to get snapped up on the morning of the sale.
“So that kind of helped us focus on what items to ask for when asking for donations of specific items,” Majors said. “They said toys were big sellers and home goods were big sellers, which were things we kind of hadn’t considered.”
Anyone in the community wishing to donate to the Bag-a-Bargain event can reach out to any Junior League member or drop gently used items off during at F airmont Elementary between 5-9 p.m. on Friday, May 3. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Frontier Health Adventure Program.