Hunting for treasure

A little girl in pink dashes out of the crowd clutching a large knitted Pink Panther, her face beaming. Mom is going to have to fork out for that one, but at less than R5, she can probably afford it.

It is only 6.30am, but the Lions Jumble Sale next to the post office is in full swing and crowded with customers looking for bargains. Clothes are piled high on the trestle tables, pants, dresses, tops, jerseys, jackets, shoes, all sizes from baby to giant. Curtains and odd and ends are also available.

A woman staggers out with an armful and we provide a chair and promise to watch her loot while she dives back in. There is plenty of cheerful chat, but no trouble. There is enough for all, no need for cat fights over clothing, and at those prices everyone can afford to stock up.

Members of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) have turned up to keep an eye, but it’s more a time for coffee and conversation than policing.

“We try to do this twice a year, summer and winter,” Lions secretary Kerry Palmer tells me. It’s quite an undertaking, but regular stalwarts, Lions members and others, are always ready to help sort and sell. “It’s basically a service to the community,” Kerry said, “although we usually make a couple of thousand on it.”

Donations are never refused no matter what they are. Anything coming in is welcome as the Lions always have projects on the go. They work closely with Hospice, handing over better and more up-market stuff to the little shop in the Henley shopping centre to be sold for slightly more (not much more, add a 0). In return more bags of used clothing are carried across the road to join the mounds on the trestle tables.

The little Hospice shop is becoming something of a community centre and doing well, Hospice board member Norma Botha tells me. There is a steady flow of customers and as It is staffed by volunteers, friends and family are always dropping by to see what’s come in and have a chat.

People come and go at the jumble sale. The women are replaced by men stopping to look for bargains on the way to work. After a couple of hours, there is still plenty to sort through, although the best has probably been whisked away.

Sometimes entrepreneurs come in and collect a job lot to sell on the streets of Joburg. Good luck to them. Whatever is left over is taken to the Daleside Community Centre and given away freely to whoever needs it.

The Lions next project is on May Day, May 1, when two Lions propose to spend the day up a tree by the CPF Command Centre in Ewelme Street. They need to raise R5 000 before they can come down again! Meanwhile the CPF will be selling boeries below.

What goes around comes around.