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Clean Sweep 2013 raises nearly $17,000 for local organizations

A “garage sale” of appliances, furniture, sporting equipment, electronics and other goods donated by the Bates College community raised nearly $17,000 on June 15.

Fourteen local nonprofit organizations will divide the proceeds from the 13th annual Clean Sweep at Bates, a popular community event that drew hundreds of bargain-hunters from across the region to the college’s Underhill Arena.

The sale was originally created to ensure that worthy items left behind by students departing at the end of the academic year didn’t go into the waste stream. Clean Sweep has grown into an eagerly anticipated event that’s a win-win-win for shoppers, the environment and nonprofits that help staff the sale.

“Clean Sweep is great partnership program,” says Julie Rosenbach, manager of sustainability initiatives at Bates. “For the college it’s a cost-effective and sustainable way of mitigating waste at the end of the year. It consistently raises thousands of dollars for local non-profit organizations — more than $120,000 has gone to nonprofits since Clean Sweep was first started in 2000.

“And community members love it — they get great bargains. How do I know this? I start getting calls in April asking when the sale will be.”

The nonprofits supply volunteers to help staff the sale as well as other support. In turn, they share the sale proceeds among themselves according to the number of volunteer hours, trucks and tables each organization provides.

All told, more than 100 volunteers represented the 14 nonprofits participating in this year’s sale. They collected, organized and priced items for the sale, as well as cleaning up afterward.

Also playing an important role in this year’s sale was Sonja Favaloro of Princeton, N.J. A rising senior at Bates, Favaloro served as the Clean Sweep coordinator for the internship that’s required of all majors in the environmental studies program.

“She did a fantastic job managing all the logistics and coordinating over 1,400 volunteer hours of work,” says Rosenbach.

“This year I was especially happy with the prices,” Rosenbach adds. “We cut prices on almost every item.”

She says that from an entire ice arena full of merchandise, only about a pickup truck load remained for disposal at the end of the sale

Located in Lewiston except as indicated, the nonprofits taking part this year were: the Caleb Group (River Valley Village); Catholic Charities of Maine’s Seek Elderly Alone, Renew Courage and Hope (SEARCH) Program; the Creative Trails Program at Support Solutions; the Dominican Sisters; First Universalist Church, Auburn;

Also, the Justice, Ecology and Democracy Collective, Greene; the Life Center at John F. Murphy Homes, Auburn; Lots to Gardens; the Root Cellar; the Share Center, Auburn; Somali Bantu Community Association; TriCounty Mental Health Services and its Social Learning Center; and the Trinity Jubilee Center.

Bates is one of a number of colleges and universities nationwide that benefit both local nonprofit organizations and the environment by selling useful possessions donated by students as they depart at the end of the academic year, as well as by other members of the campus communities.



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