When a Garage Sale Begins to Change Lives…

August 29, 2012 by Angela Vincent

This week I caught up with an amazing ELI volunteer named Bethany. Bethany is pretty much a hero at our office because of her creative commitment to being an ambassador for ELI! Seriously, every time we look around she’s doing something amazing and innovative to raise funds to be used for training people in East Africa. Today when we spoke, I asked Bethany to share about the garage sale her church college group put on to help empower families through ELI. Here is what she shared:

How did you decide you wanted to do something for ELI?

I am always trying to figure out creative ways to bridge the gap between fundraising and the work ELI is doing in Africa. I was thinking of an event where we could bring advocacy and awareness together so that people know what their money is going towards. My goal was to bring what ELI is doing in East Africa closer to home. ELI does such great work, it’s sustainable and I want people to know that. People are less willing to give money unless they know it’s going to actually make a difference on the ground. I wanted to show people “Hey, here’s what ELI is doing and here’s how you can partner with them”, and it happened to take the form of a yard sale!

How did you get people together to help out?

The college group I’m a part of really has a heart for reaching out in Jesus’ name. About two years ago ELI gave me an Ambassador Packet that shared about how to throw a Garage Sale for Good. The garage sale turned out really well, and our group was actually really excited about doing it again.  This time our group wanted to take it a step further and improve on what we did last time.  My college group is really supportive so they were excited to jump on board. I told them what to do and they rolled with it.

What things did you do to raise awareness about ELI?

We wanted to be creative in how we shared the ELI story with those coming to the yard sale. We put up signs around the garage with pictures. We shared statistics about Kenya and how their purchase was making a difference to lower those statistics. For example, we had a statistic that said, “The unemployment rate in Kenya is 30% but through your contribution today you’ve reduced that by helping support ELI to run trainings and bring people out of poverty”.

We also passed out a packet of flower seeds to everyone who came to the yard sale. We shared how in some parts of Africa they have a tradition of planting trees when people come to visit, symbolizing life and celebration.  We wanted people to remember ELI and the celebration of life when they planted those flowers.

When people purchased an item, we gave them a receipt that also had the ELI website on it and how their purchase is going to help empower lives in Africa.  They also received a Cultivate magazine.  Another fun idea is to play Kenyan music!

Overall the yard sale went great and we were able to donate over $500 to ELI!

Thanks Bethany for your creativity! We love it!

To find out more creative ways to get involved, email Katie Cook at

Photos courtesy of  Brandon Bathauer and Andrew McKeown.

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Categories: Empowering Lives Uncategorized USA Office