How can you NOT love the term “classy clutter”? While this is NOT a term that comes to mind while visually scanning most of our own basements or attics, it is precisely the right description for the upcoming Saturday, June 9th rummage sale to be held at First Presbyterian Church in Cranford, in Bates Hall, from 9:00 – 12:00 noon. There will be no stained Tupperware, limbless dolls, or chipped dishes typical of yard or rummage sales here. Past items have included such things as used furniture in excellent shape, brand new handcrafted items such as quilts and wooden toys, and upscale bags and jewelry. All non-sold items will be donated to other local charities at the close of the sale. All proceeds from the sale of these goods will benefit the various mission endeavors supported by the church, including the Cranford-Elmora Soup Kitchen.
If you are not familiar with the Cranford-Elmora Soup Kitchen, it is a noble endeavor close to home. A supervised group of eight or nine, mostly children ages 11 and above, come in each Sunday at 1 p.m., and start preparing meals for people who are grateful to have them. Guests are served from 3:00-4:00 PM, and volunteers then clean until 5:00 PM, then and go home and rest after both a physically and spiritually fulfilling day. The guest number ranges from a low of 70 people at the beginning of the month to a high of 120 people, with an all-time high of 207 people.
The soup kitchen is built on a very basic idea – each person deserves and will have a full meal on Sunday. After serving their 100,000th meal on May 29, 2011, they have successfully fulfilled this mission and plan to continue to do so, helping to serve men, women, families and children. As many of the volunteers are children and youth group members, the soup kitchen fulfills an educational purpose, as well, as the volunteers learn how to cook, work as a team and, most importantly, how to serve their fellow man and pay it forward. All meals are made hot and fresh on site every Sunday, and served with humble respect.
When the Elmora Presbyterian Church closed in 2004, the soup kitchen almost closed with it. In June 2005, the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford permanently adopted the program and it officially became the Cranford-Elmora Soup Kitchen. Volunteers now come from all over, including Connecticut Farms Presbyterian, St. Theresa’s of Kenilworth, The First Baptist Church of Cranford-Elizabeth, the Fanwood Presbyterian, the Korean Presbyterian, St. Anne’s, the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford and First Presbyterian Church of Westfield. The Fanwood Presbyterian Church and the First Presbyterian Church of Westfield also provide bagged lunches for guests.
The soup kitchen also accepts donations of socks, full size bars of soap, tooth paste, toothbrushes, deodorant, wash cloths, face towels, other basic essentials, as well as financial donations. The First Presbyterian Church of Cranford acts as their drop point. To donate to the Cranford-Elmora Soup Kitchen, contact the First Presbyterian Church of Cranford at 908-276-8440. Consider donating some of these basic items to those who need it most, or donating some of your own “classy clutter” to the upcoming rummage sale. Or experience the thrill of the hunt by doing some “upscale rummaging”’ of your own and picking up some new classy clutter at the rummage sale! It’s a win-win deal.