Benefit Yard Sale Will Go on after All Event Is Returning to Naperville with Organizational Changes
McCammon, Sarah, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Sarah McCammon Daily Herald Staff Writer
The Great American Yard Sale will return to Naperville - again.
Despite earlier plans to end the fund-raiser for organizations that help the homeless, co-organizer Rudy Krueger said the event will come back this summer with some organizational changes.
"We're in a process right now of self-evaluation," Krueger said. "We took a long, hard look at what we're doing."
The sale, which Krueger and his wife started 16 years ago, will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 21 and Aug. 22 in the parking lot of Calvary Christian School in Naperville. It will benefit a variety of charities, including Families Helping Families in Naperville and VietNow in Lisle.
In past years, the event has been threatened by rising expenses and insufficient turnout, prompting Krueger to consider ending it several times.
Although the event cumulatively has given more than $500,000 to charities, it has yet to reach its goal of $150,000 in a single year.
"It's just the frustration on my part that when the thing is over with, we become disgusted at the kind of funds we raise," Krueger said. "We never got to that point and this year we had probably half of that. We certainly would like to get this on track."
Finding a permanent location for the two-day event also has been a challenge. Past locations, which have included commercial parking lots on Route 59 and Aurora Avenue, have fallen through as permanent sites.
"The problem is we don't have a space that stays in one spot and is high-profile," he said. "Making those moves, people just weren't able to find the place."
After last year's event brought in only a few thousand dollars more than the nearly $60,000 in expenses, Krueger announced in August he would end the sale for good.
"Last year, when it was over we had such a poor showing we barely made our expenses," he said. "It's getting tighter and tighter every year."
But Krueger said a small group of volunteers recently persuaded him to give it another go.
"They kept pushing me to re-think the whole thing," he said. "(They) really made me feel that we should try to keep this thing going for another year, if not longer."
Volunteers are working to establish the event as a nonprofit organization and form a board of directors with committees to handle publicity, solicit sponsorship and find donors for tables, tents and other services.
"We're going to find people that will sponsor some or all of it so that no matter what happens with the location, we can still give donations to these organizations," Krueger said. "(We're doing this) rather than just me trying to do it by the seat of my pants."
Naperville Mayor George Pradel has agreed to serve on the board.
"I do believe in the Great American Yard Sale because it really is reaching out to people. …