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Trash to Treasure Needs Volunteers

by and on May 05, 2013 11:25 AM

It's that time of year — the 12th annual Trash to Treasure sale is a little less than a month away.

The sale will be held on June 1 at Beaver Stadium. Between now and then, however, there is a lot of organizing to do.

“We'll have several sorting days and we'll need volunteers to help with that,” said Beth Shaha, special events coordinator for the Centre County United Way. “We're going to be going through 75 tons of 'treasure,' so the more volunteers, the better.”

The items for Trash to Treasure are gleaned from the residential halls at Penn State. There are a wide variety of items for sale at Trash to Treasure. Everything from lamps, fans, futons, electronics, office chairs, carpet, household items, books and vacuum cleaners will be available. There is also a plethora of clothing — especially a large selection for teens.

However, before the sale begins, there is sorting going on behind the scenes. According to Shaha, the sorting is done in three- to four-hour shifts. At press time, there were 80 people signed up to be volunteer sorters. According to Shaha, though, more bodies are needed.

“We can definitely use more volunteers. It takes a lot of hands to get through all of it. There are boxes, bags and totes to sort through,” she said.

Sorting is a month-long process that requires help from community and campus volunteers. The United Way also gets help from its partner agencies. There are 35 agencies that form groups to come and help sort.

“It's really important to have those agencies help,” Shaha said.

Last year, the sale generated $61,000 for the Centre County United Way. Just as important, it kept 76.5 tons of items that were left behind out of the landfill. Penn State averages 190 tons in move-out waste every year. That's the largest two-day waste stream produced at the University Park campus.

It also saves the university nearly $5,000 in landfill tip fees and hauling.

“It's really a win-win,” Shaha explained. “It really started just to reduce the amount of trash that was headed for the landfills. Economically, it helps the United Way, but it is also beneficial to the environment.”

The sorting process has begun. Shifts of two or three hours are scheduled throughout the month of May. Volunteers must be 18 years or older. Minors accompanying volunteers must be escorted by a parent or guardian at all times.

“It really is a group effort. There is a committee that meets all year in preparation for the event. Now that we're about a month away, it's getting pretty exciting,” Shaha said.

Shaha, is new to the United Way. She said that she will be experiencing her first Trash to Treasure sale.

“It's a big event, but I've never been there,” she said. “There's so much that goes into it … I'm excited to see it first-hand.”


What: Centre County United Way's Trash to Treasure Sale

When: Various dates in May

Why: To help a good cause

Click HERE for more information.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Chris Morelli is the managing editor of The Centre County Gazette.
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