COLUMBIA — Every year, Rocky Clouse drives three and a half hours to go to a garage sale with her daughter Fran Lakatos.
"It's a mother-daughter event," Lakatos said of their tradition.
They were just two in a long line of shoppers who moved hurriedly through the doors at 8 a.m. Saturday, entering Broadway Christian Church, 2601 West Broadway. This is the 23rd year for the garage sale, which benefits the Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity.
“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for the church to support a wonderful organization and for the community to come together,” the church's pastor Nick Larson said. “My favorite part of the whole thing is watching multiple generations work side by side on the project.”
The sale, which engages hundreds of volunteers from the Columbia community, has raised more money every year since it started in 1989.
Dixie Fisher, secretary of the board of Habitat for Humanity in Columbia, started the garage sale with her husband.
“We made $1,800 that first year,” she said. Last year, the sale brought in $17,000.
As of Saturday morning, Fisher said there was no way to tell how this year’s proceeds would rank against previous years', but she was pleased with the turnout so far.
“It’s going well,” Fisher said as she looked around the church’s gymnasium filled with people and a variety of items. “We’ve got a huge group. We consider our garage sale the biggest one in mid-Missouri.”
John Claggett, who volunteered for a third year, finds the experience rewarding.
“It’s an incredible experience to see the people that work with the sale come together in a spirit of Christianity for a cause to help other people,” he said.
The sale, which accepted donations in the latter part of the week, included couches, garden gnomes, electronics and clothes. Shoppers perused items in the church's gym, fellowship hall and the west parking lot.
“They’ve got almost anything you want,” Columbia resident Paul Sanderson said. “I come for books, and I try to find medium-sized puzzles.”
Another shopper, Tim Sullivan, agreed there was wide selection of items.
“There’s lots of stuff and the prices are reasonable," Sullivan said. "I just like the crowd.”