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The Achievement Center sale opens Friday

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Volunteer Don Lundgren (left) helps project coordinator Gwen Clausen unpack a large donation of new merchandise to be offered at The Achievement Center Rummage Sale, which begins Friday at the Worthington Arena.

WORTHINGTON -- Volunteers were busily pricing donations, hanging clothing, arranging home décor items and books and finding space for a wide variety of items Wednesday morning in preparation for The Achievement Center's (TAC) annual rummage sale fundraiser.

Doors to the TAC sale open at 11 a.m. Friday, at the Worthington Arena on the Nobles County Fairgrounds. Regular hours will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, through May 26.

Don Brands, manager of The Achievement Center, said all funds raised through the annual rummage sale go directly into the operating budget for TAC.

"This helps for the clients to work in the community," said Gwen Clausen, who oversees the rummage sale.

TAC serves about 120 clients through work activities in Worthington, Windom and Luverne.

While the rummage sale is, by far, the largest fundraiser for the organization, Brands said they also sell wood stakes and lathes at the Worthington site, and clients earn money by offering cleaning, sorting and packaging services for local businesses.

With less than a week to get all of the donations priced and moved into the ice arena for the sale, Clausen said TAC is really in need of volunteers to help this year. Anyone who has time to stop out and help for an hour or two, or an entire day, is welcome.

Volunteers come from Worthington, Lakefield, Adrian, Rushmore and other towns around. One volunteer flies in from Oregon every year in mid-May and joins her family locally to help at the sale.

Mathilda Pearson of Worthington has volunteered to help raise money for TAC for so many years she even pre-dates the rummage sale, which is in its 41st year.

"We used to go out to the Legion and stuff envelopes ... for the Crippled Children's Home, asking for donations," Pearson said.

During the first years of the TAC rummage sale, Pearson recalled setting up the sale in one of the livestock barns on the fairgrounds. Back then, they had to work on a dirt floor.

As for why she returns year after year to volunteer, Pearson said, "I like it. It kind of gets under your skin and you know what you're doing it for -- people who need help.

"I think that most of the gals feel the same way I do," she added.

Clausen said Pearson is the woman who makes sure all of the clothes are hung correctly on the racks.

Without the help of volunteers and the generous contributions from the community, the TAC rummage sale wouldn't happen.

"We have treasures -- this is the key word," said Clausen with a smile as she walked through display after display.

The TAC sale offers everything from dishes and glass ware to movies, books, wall hangings, bedding, clothes, shoes, toys, stuffed animals and antiques. There are sections of furniture, lighting and even new steel doors and packaged laminate flooring.

"Last year we didn't get many bikes, but this year we have bikes," she added.

"The big thing is, when you find something you want, you better hang on to it."

Donations come from community residents and businesses, and Clausen said monetary donations to TAC are also welcome.

What the volunteers most enjoy, in addition to socializing with shoppers and among each other as they prepare for the sale, are getting the first chance to see all of the items that come in.

"The other day, there were these little baby shoes --you can't buy them any more (in stores). I thought that was just fantastic," said volunteer Donna Hieronimus of Rushmore. "When you open a box or sack up, you never know what you're going to find."

"There's a saying that one man's junk is another man's treasure, and that is certainly true," added Clausen.

Al and Jeanette Henning of Worthington have volunteered their time at the TAC rummage sale for nearly 15 years. Al stacks items for display, and Jeanette works in the back room pricing the donations.

"By guess and by golly," said Jeanette of her method for pricing items. When she's really stumped on what an item is -- or what it is worth -- she can always consult with other volunteers.

Her husband said they love to volunteer their time at the sale.

"It's just something to get us out of the house," Al quipped.

Like the Hennings, Jerry Krull of Rushmore is an avid volunteer. He puts in six- to eight-hour days helping prepare for the TAC rummage sale, takes time out to deliver meals for Senior Dining and also works part-time at the Worthington Christian Church food shelf.

"One of the perks of working here is you get to see it all before everyone else," Krull said.

He encouraged other people to come out to the TAC sale and volunteer their time.

"We'll put you to work," he said, adding that coffee and rolls are provided free to anyone who volunteers to help with the sale.

Donations are accepted throughout the sale, which means that people should return often to shop and new items are added daily.

Clausen said this year they will have a "semi-load of treasures" coming in after Mother's Day weekend from Brandon, S.D., following the city-wide garage sales there.

Anyone wishing to donate larger items, like furniture, but need someone to haul it to the rummage sale is encouraged to call The Achievement Center at 376-3168.

To follow TAC on social media, like them on Facebook at www.facebook. com/theachievementcenter or on Twitter at: theachievementc.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330