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Elim’s beautiful Oasis building site of upscale Garage Sale

Market atmosphere a hit with public

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SURREY, British Columbia - Annual bazaars are popular with many organizations in the postwar Dutch communities, particularly in Canada, where they gained traction as fundraisers and venues where old acquaintances and friends can be met in an old-country style market atmosphere. Notably auxiliary support groups of the many membership-funded Christian schools have developed a tradition of funding non-budgetary extras for school boards focused on keeping tuition fees as affordable as possible.

Depending on available local talent, such venues will put on auctions where the ad-libbing by amateur-auctioneers can be quite hilarious and worth the show.

The recent indoor event at Surrey’s Elim Village had all the ‘gezelligheid’ of a Dutch market and a tremendous amount of quality pass-along merchandise, so typical in an environment where nearly everyone has been through cycles of downsizing. Lead-organizer Richard Oostra found the amount of merchandise hugely overwhelming. The storage area available simply was inadequate spilling over into other areas.

An enthusiastic group of volunteers sorted out the contents of all the boxes of donated items, amidst much laughter and excitement. About one third of all the donated items had to be kept in storage for the next sale, anticipated next Spring.


The best give-away that the Elim Village ‘Garage Sale’ offers quality material at reasonable prices is the level of eagerness among thrift store dealers. About twenty of them hardly could wait for the doors to open to have first pick.

Elim Village residents, there are now hundreds of them, were impressed enough that they bought tables and chairs to upgrade their own, buying sale items and quickly donating their own. One donated loveseat ended up next door of the donor.

One man bought lots of Christmas lights, apparently just for the copper content.

Much of the unsold merchandise went to thrift stores such as a local Bibles for Missions outlet. Oostra thinks that the level of generosity of the Dutch community and Elim Village residents (Dutch and otherwise) is almost beyond the ability of his group to handle. Hard work, but plenty of satisfaction - and gratitude - for this group which is largely 70 plus!