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Nisswa church seeks other ways to raise money after popular rummage sales canceled

Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa has donated thousands to hundreds of ministries through its twice yearly rummage sales.

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Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa is finding other ways to raise money to help those in need since the two 2020 rummage sales had to be canceled. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

The spring rummage sale at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa was canceled because of COVID-19, and the fall rummage sale - usually held at the end of September - is also canceled.

But that doesn't mean the church isn't looking for new, innovative ways to raise money for various ministries.

"It always goes to someplace around the world to help those in need," Carolyn Blanck, rummage sale chair since 2008, said of the annual church rummage sales proceeds.

From 2008-19, those proceeds totaled just over $459,000. The highest total was in 2018, with $66,300 raised.

Over that time span, donations included $116,385 to 110 state and community ministries; $105,700 to nearly 100 nation and world missions; $185,539 to 110 Lutheran Church of the Cross internal ministries; and $51,540 to the Women of the ELCA, the group that started the event.

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"It's a longtime tradition here at Lutheran Church of the Cross," Blanck said, noting the rummage sales started in 1960, when the church opened, with the same goal as the most recent sales - to help people in need.

The event started with women doing all the work, and in more recent years men got involved as more volunteers were needed.

"We could not have done it without the guests who come and buy. They're part of our ministry," Blanck said, saying in written comments, "I have so enjoyed getting to know all of you - our guests - who have come to our rummage sales, and I certainly missed seeing all of you this year."

Though popular with both those who donated rummage sale items throughout the year and those who marked their calendars to shop at the twice yearly sales, the COVID-19 pandemic signals changing times. The church is no longer taking donations, and the event's future is unknown.

"I think it's going to be a new normal," Blanck said. "I just don't know if we can set it up again like that and have 500 to 600 people in the Celebration Center."

Blanck and her husband, Duane, have taken pickup loads of items to the Twin Cities to be used locally as well as sent globally to those in need.

Reaching out in new ways

"We have been discussing how to proceed and respond with compassion, concern and service in reaching out to our neighbors in the community, state, nation and world in need during these uncertain and fearful times like we have in the past, but obviously in a different and reduced manner without having our usual rummage sales," Blanck said in written comments.

To that end, in early August the church held a very small furniture and miscellaneous sale in the church parking lot, and the following outreach opportunities will continue through September:

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  • Gardeners with extra produce are selling it at their homes and donating the proceeds to the church rummage sale.

  • People having their own rummage sales are including donated rummage sale items that are now in storage and contributing the proceeds.

  • People can make financial contributions to continue to help people and ministries, and those affected by COVID-19, by writing a check payable to LCC Rummage Sale with "Reaching Out" in the memo line and mailing it to: Lutheran Church of the Cross, PO Box 29, Nisswa, MN 56468.

For more information, call Carolyn Blanck at 218-963-7660.
Monetary gifts will help meet the needs of ministries in this area, such as clothing for babies, children and adults; greeting cards for those in isolation in assisted living and nursing homes to use to correspond to family and friends; meals for families within an 80-mile radius of Nisswa through The Outreach Program of Brainerd Lakes; medical supplies and care kits for local ministries and those in need around the world.

"I feel that this coronavirus tragedy has made all of us change our behavior and the way we think. It has made us realize how much we depend on and need to care for one another," Blanck wrote.

She is happy that in a time of perceived doom and gloom, kindness and humanity still exist.

"Together we can make a difference in people's lives," Blanck said.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.

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People piled into Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa in 2019, for the church's fall rummage sale. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal file photo

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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