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Junior League thrift sale full of hidden gems
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Fransisca Carchi pushes a vacuum cleaner she planned to purchase through rows of piled items Thursday during the Junior League thrift sale at Gainesville Civic Center. This was Carchi's first time making it out to the thrift sale. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Junior League Thrift Sale

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. NW, Gainesville

How much: $1 admission

More info: www.gainesvillehalljuniorleague.org

Among roomfuls of donated items at the Gainesville Civic Center lie the remaining pieces of Felicia Burns’ estate.

Felicia Burns was a member of the Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County beginning in the mid-1950s until her death in July from pancreatic cancer. She asked her daughter-in-law Tina Burns, a sustaining member of the league, not to hold an estate sale after her death, but to donate the items to the Junior League thrift sale instead.

The annual thrift sale began with a double-priced preview night Thursday and continues from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the civic center.

Felicia Burns was born in Gainesville and spent most of her life living in the area. Her daughter-in-law said she always cared about the community, volunteerism and doing what she could to help others.

“She volunteered and was always very involved in the community,” Tina Burns said of her mother-in-law. “She thought people could benefit from her things and the community could benefit from the money raised from the thrift sale.”

Blythe Nicholson, thrift sale chairwoman, said she was “so pleased” when she learned of the donation from Felicia and Tina Burns.

“Miss Tina was the person who introduced me to Junior League,” Nicholson said. “She brought me to a meeting, and she’s the reason I joined. And it just so happened that our greatest sustaining donor, on the year I am thrift sale chair, is her mother-in-law.

“I just thought, ‘Oh my gosh. This is fantastic.’”

Burns said her mother-in-law’s donations included any household items, such as clothes, shoes and dishes. There were some “cute little purses” and pieces of art donated as well.

These are just a few of hundreds, if not thousands, of items donated to the sale. Rooms on the ground level of the civic center are filled with furniture, where walls are lined with sofas, chairs and televisions. Meanwhile, the halls upstairs are filled with tables overflowing with every household need, from lamps, linens and decor to appliances, pet supplies and computers.

Whole tables are dedicated to seasonal, holiday and Christmas decor, and an entire room is dedicated to children’s needs, including clothing, toys and equipment such as carriers and strollers.

“There are some awesome treasures here,” Nicholson said. “I can promise there is something for everybody. And every cent spent here goes back to the community.”

The Junior League has several programs throughout the year, including the Little Black Dress Initiative in the winter and a Healthy Habits Expo in the spring, which raise money for or benefit those in need.

Tina Burns said she would encourage people to check out the thrift sale Saturday and consider making purchases for that reason.

“I hope they make a lot of money that can be brought to their many outstanding projects in our community,” Tina Burns said. “The Junior League is a great organization, and we’re just trying to help as many people as we can that need it.”

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