About 25 years ago, Father Andrew Czajkowski, above, prayerfully decided to establish a second-hand goods sale at Saint John the Evangelist in Davison to help fund the parish’s apostolic works; to serve the poorest in the community; and to exemplify good Christian stewardship over temporal goods. A quarter of a century later and “Andy’s Attic” – which is named after Father Czajkowski – has grown into a week-long bazaar which, last year, raised over $100,000 for good causes. Deo gratias.
“It started out small but now has gotten to be a major event,” says Father Czajkowski, “it began as an effort to have a parish fundraiser but, more importantly, not to waste stuff, to recycle, to find a use for things, to give things another life and to be accessible to people for a very reasonable price. Our present Holy Father calls upon us to reject the 'throwaway culture' and that’s what Andy’s Attic aims to do.”
The annual Andy’s Attic sale is on a scale that startles many first-time visitors with thousands of browsers and buyers, from far and wide, being cheerfully helped by dozens of parish volunteers each sporting the Holy Cross at the heart of their bright orange t-shirts.
“We start collecting items in the late fall, we have a drop-off point and pick-up service for furniture, and then our parishioners give generously of their time and talent with three months of cleaning, sorting and pricing,” explains Father Czajkowski.
“They make sure that all the appliances and equipment work and is top drawer. In fact, people often compliment us on the quality of the goods. All the clothes are also washed before they are sold. And, so, some people buy a whole year’s supply of school clothing for 40 or 50 dollars – they think they’ve won the lottery!”
The quantity of items for sale at Andy’s Attic is so voluminous that Saint John has to use its parish hall, outside storage barns and a tented village in the parking lot to accommodate everything. Last year the sale raised $96,000 for the parish. The unsold items were then donated to local Catholic charities who used them to raise a further $20,000 for worthy causes.
“People come back and bring their friends, it’s by word of mouth that people have got to know that the prices here are very affordable and the quality is good,” says Father Czajkowski.
Father Czajkowski also says he’s also watched the annual fundraiser become a great communal activity for his parishioners who are drawn from across a vast parish area which incorporates, as it does, 65 different zip codes. He likes to remind all volunteers that they are the face of Christ to those who visit Andy’s Attic.
“Let’s welcome visitors as we welcome Christ, let’s be mindful of who we are and who it is we represent and, maybe, people will say ‘they look a happy crowd, they seem to have the joy of the Gospel,’”
• Andy’s Attic continues each day this week until Saturday, May 27.