A chat with... Carla Miklos
Published 12:00 am, Friday, July 15, 2016
FAIRFIELD — Operation Hope will be holding a tag sale next weekend. But it’s not just any tag sale, it’s the nonprofit’s annual “Really Big” Tag Sale, and donations will be accepted starting on Monday.
Carla Miklos, executive director, said the tag sale has been around for about 15 years — or half as long as the organization itself, which was founded in 1986. Operation Hope runs homeless shelters for men, women and families, a community kitchen and a food pantry. It also owns or operates 46 units of affordable, supportive housing.
The tag sale itself has traveled around.
“We’ve been in several different time slots and locations,” Miklos said. “The one people remember is probably Tomlinson Middle School, but we’ve also been at Wakeman and Fairfield University. We had a fairly long stay at Wakeman, but once we moved over here, it made sense to have it at the church.”
Operation Hope’s offices are located on the Old Post Road, next door to First Church Congregational, which will play host to the tag sale.
What you need to know about Operation Hope’s “Really Big” Tag Sale:
Donations accepted July 18-21 from 9 a.m. to noon and 5 t0 8 p.m. at First Church Congregational, 148 Beach Road
Items not accepted include clothing, shoes, bedding, computers, monitors, televisions, cribs or books.
The tag sale will be held at the church, rain or shine, July 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and July 24 from noon to 4 p.m.
Admission is $1
Fairfield Rotary will host a concession stand
Miklos recently talked with the Fairfield Citizen about the logistics of the “Really Big” Tag Sale.
FC: How many volunteers does it take to prepare and run the tag sale?
CM: It takes about 400 volunteers, from youth to seasoned professionals who are experts in their areas. And we get at least 1,000 people at the tag gale, which we gauge by the $1 admission.
FC: Do you collect donations all year long?
CM: Our challenge is space, so we won’t start collecting until the week before. So, we take donations starting on July 18, and then the tag sale is the next weekend. If we had a facility where we could collect and store donations, we would.
FC: How many donations do you typically get?
CM: It’s in the tens of thousands. It’s everything from measuring spoons to dining room tables and puzzles to sets of china and bicycles. It runs the gamut, although the only thing we don’t take, and are really strict about, are clothing and shoes. So it’s a great way to empty out your garage or attic.
FC: What are some of the bigger ticket items you’ve had donated?
CM: The cars. We’ve had cars and trailers and boats. We’ve had some pretty decent boats. Prior to the advent of Craigslist and eBay, we’d get a lot of that. We also have a section called “The Finer Things,” it’s an area for collectibles and antiques.
FC: How many money does the tag sale raise, on average?
CM: It varies from year to year. I think the lowest was $12,000 and our high point was around $40,000. We set a goal of $20,000. It’s a significant fundraiser for us, but it’s also a fun family event that the community looks forward to. And it’s successful because of the volunteers, and because people are willing to work so hard to make it successful each year.