Shop and change lives: Annual sale in Townsend supports scholarships for residents
By Melanie Tucker | (email@example.com)
The first rummage sale hosted by Hearts and Hands Scholarship Fund was held in the yard of Dorothy Storey’s home in Townsend.
When all was said and done, the organization, which was chartered in December 1994, was able to provide two students with $225 scholarships.
This week, that annual sale is in full swing and continues through Sunday at Cowboy Tubing, just across from Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.
When the doors close on Sunday afternoon, organizers hope to add $6,000 to that scholarship fund.
That means that Hearts and Hands will be able to provide several students in Townsend with scholarships totaling $500 to $800 each, along with an annual $1,000 Dorothy Storey Scholarship that is given to a student each year who demonstrates the kindness of community service.
Who it helps
Shae Kinser is the recipient of the Dorothy Storey Scholarship this year. He is a student at Pellissippi State Community College, working toward a nursing degree. In addition, this 20-year-old works part-time in a Townsend restaurant and also volunteers for the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department.
He said he is forever grateful to an organization that works to give his community’s young people the help they need to succeed. Kinser was home-schooled through high school and graduated in 2010. He is taking 13 semester hours at Pellissippi and works 25 hours per week at the restaurant as well as his volunteer work.
“It keep me out of trouble,” he said.
He is certainly one that knows how hard it is today to pay for a higher education.
“It is ridiculous how much college costs,” this student explained. “That scholarship has helped me out a whole, whole lot.”
Kinser hopes to be able to take all of his nursing courses at Pellissippi’s Blount County campus.
This Townsend resident remains appreciative of the help he’s been given and for those who come after. “They are a great bunch of people,” he said of Hearts and Hands.
The community service work is what he totally loves to do. The volunteer fire department, he said, is like a second family.
A band of hard workers
Ann Hughes is president of Hearts and Hands and was busy all week setting up the white elephant sale, or rummage sale as most call it. People just show up, drop off items for the sale and even stay to help off load and organize, Hughes said.
“Everything you see here has been donated by local residents — everything,” Hughes said. “It has just gotten bigger and bigger every year. We started setting up Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. We have had six to seven people here every day, nonstop.”
The sale started Wednesday, but shoppers still have today, Saturday and Sunday to make the trip to Townsend and check out the selection of furniture, household goods, dishes, curtains, rugs, clothes, shoes, tools, Christmas decorations and more. Everything is priced extremely low, organizers said. Most things can be had for $1 or less.
This is the major fundraiser for Hearts and Hands. Hughes said she even has out-of-state people email her, asking about the sale so they can make plans to come.
To date, over $150,000 has been given to residents of Townsend attending college, since Hearts and Hands came into existence in 1994.
In the beginning
On Tuesday afternoon, Storey, who is 88, was behind the cash register, ringing up some early sales as rummage sale items were still coming in. She remembers those first few sales that were held in her yard. Then the sale was held at a local church before they were fortunate to be able to use the Cowboy Tubing location.
Storey is a retired teacher and was asked those many years ago if she would let her name be placed on the Hearts and Hands charter. She agreed and has been working tirelessly since.
“I knew what college costs,” she said. “We all said ‘if we don’t do anything but help them with paper and pencils that is something.’ One of our first scholarship recipients told me she couldn’t have gone to college without our help.”
There is no paid staff for Hearts and Hands. If a board member or volunteer sends out a letter, he or she pays for postage. They all make sure the word gets out about this popular sale.
Jessica Hussey, who graduated from Heritage High School in 2001, was a scholarship recipient those years ago. She attended the University of Tennessee, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in geology. She said the money from Hearts and Hands helped her pay for books.
She worked for six years for an engineering and environmental firm in Tampa, Fla. but recently moved back here. Her mother is active in Hearts and Hands so she knows how dedicated they are to the cause.
“It’s a great organization,” she said. “They have helped so many.”
Help one another
It was an honor, Storey said, to have that community service scholarship named for her. She said it has been given out for about five years. The scholarships are all available for Townsend residents who attend an accredited college or university.
So this weekend’s weather is supposed to be superb. The fall colors are popping. You might just want to head to Townsend and the Smokies, grab a bargain and help local residents make a future.