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Providence Family Services’ Annual Rummage Sale Breaks Records

Last year, Sister Patty Fillenwarth was quite pleased that the Providence Family Services annual rummage sale cracked $6,000 in proceeds. However, she couldn’t be happier with the results of this year’s sale, which took place at Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Chicago, Oct. 3 and 4: $7,654.13 was raised to help fund the services provided to those living in Humboldt Park and the surrounding areas of Chicago. “I don’t know if we’ll get to $8,000 next year, but that sure would be great,” she commented. “Regardless, $7,000 is a lot of money!”

So many items were donated to this year's Providence Family Services annual rummage sale that two garages were needed to store the items.

So many items were donated to this year’s Providence Family Services rummage sale that two garages were needed for storage prior to the event.

This two-day event is no small feat. It is only possible with generous donations of time, talent, and treasure. Individuals donated enough items to fill up two garages, which had to be moved to the church basement prior to the sale. One particular woman brought in carload after carload of donations! “We had a lot of volunteers this year,” said Sister Patty. “We had wonderful help from the school kids, some of our Providence Associates, and some parishioners in moving all of our donations from the garages into the basement. We also had help from some of our clients and our ESL students. This just wouldn’t be possible without so much support from our dear volunteers.”

Sister Patty estimated that approximately 100 people came in as soon as the sale began, bright and early at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Overall, she believes at least 300 shoppers attended the event over the course of the weekend.

“This rummage sale helps people who really are needy,” Sister Patty explained. “At the end of the day, it’s not so much about how much money is raised to support Providence Family Services. It’s about helping those who truly need help. These people need things that we simply take for granted.”

“If we can continue with the wonderful help; if God could make us all 10 years younger so we can continue doing this good work,” Sister Patty sighed. A Sister’s good work is never done. Sister Patty already has her sights set on how to make the 12th annual Providence Family Services rummage sale an even bigger success.

Each year after the rummage sale, Sister Patty writes a poem to summarize the event. This year’s poem, “A Great Big Thank You,” is featured below.



Once again we celebrate a wonderful day.
‘Twas a “Sale of the Century” we’re glad to relay.

The cast of characters all knew the routine
And they each did their parts like a well-oiled machine.

The collectors and deliverers arrived right on cue
And filled the garages with things old and new.

Next came the BVM kids—the greatest in town
Who transported our treasures with nary a frown.

The sorters arrived with a spring in their step
And finished their job quickly with cheer and with pep.

On Saturday morning, in spite of the mist,
The shoppers arrived early and they came with their list.

Friday and Saturday all enjoyed the great food
Prepared lovingly by Sisters Lucy and Mary Fran—it was so good!

On Sunday the whole Carcanaquez clan
Cooked and served “comida”– all according to plan.

The clean-up crew was efficient and neat
And soon all the extras were all bagged-up complete.

When it was all over we collectively collapsed.
And recovered a few minutes before much time elapsed.

We counted and recounted and smiled the whole time,
As we stacked and we added each dollar and dime.

In the end the grand total was more than last year.
For this we are grateful and give out a great cheer.

To all those who donated and worked we do thank
For we brought $7,654.13 to the bank.

Each minute or each thing–the help that you gave—
Will probably never earn you a clap or a rave.

But many people were helped and please be aware
That your efforts were appreciated by everyone there.

So we ask God to bless you as we close this short rhyme.
You’ll hear from us next year, same place, same time!

With loads of gratitude and prayers for you all,
Sister Patty

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Sister Patricia Fillenwarth

Sister Patricia Fillenwarth

Sister Patty Fillenwarth, formerly Sister Joseph Monica, has been a Sister of Providence since 1958. She has ministered as a teacher, principal and counselor. She currently volunteers at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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