The community of McAuley has a population of about 75 people, yet its bi-annual thrift store bag sale is always a popular and successful event that brings all ages from both sides of the Man./Sask. boundary to the shop. From this sale, a community charity group donates to causes on both sides of the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border.
This year’s event, where $5 gets you a full-size garbage bags or two bags for $10 was a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sale attracted a good size crowd of shoppers for everything short of the kitchen sink. However, lots of COVID safety measures were put in place from the time the customers arrived until they left. There was a sign-in sheet/tracking log, strict limits on the number of shoppers in the converted school gym, which still had on the walls the former school team logos of "McAuley Mustangs" and everyone in face masks. Those waiting to get in were spaced down the hallway, on chairs. This was no great inconvenience as people got to visit, sharing stories and humor.
Sadly because of the Covid restrictions, the popular free coffee and cookies were not available to the public. However, the community store that is located in the same building was taking orders for take-out lunches. Since the shut down of the Cafe, the store has been busy providing take away meals to people in the area.
Debbie Lewis, the head of the community thrift store project said they were "very pleased with the turn out for the bag sale and the respectful nature of all who came out in following COVID safety rules.
“With the store having been closed, it has meant that we have not made as many charitable donations as in the past. It is also necessary to keep a certain reserve fund on hand to pay for the stores ongoing cost such as rent and utilities.
“A special thanks goes out to the thrift store workers and volunteers who helped make the day so great for everyone.”
After the sale was over, shop workers did a complete clean up of the gym area and for the next few weeks it will be closed down as the COVID restrictions continue at their level, but they hope to be back as soon as possible to continue the popular store.