Thursday, December 28, 2006

M U L J B E A S E L

The great annual St. Luke’s M U L J B E A S E L !

Now don’t look so confused, in case you still did not get it and are very bad at solving jumbles, read the title again as The great annual St. Luke’s JUMBLE SALE! This is the annual social action effort of the youth fellowship of my church. I’m going to retire in the space of a few weeks but I look back at all the activities I was privileged to be a part of by virtue of being a member of WS4G. WS4G or We Stand For God is the youth fellowship of St. Luke’s and over the years has done its bit for the underprivileged.

During the season of advent we endeavour to turn waste to wealth by the jumble sale. The jumble sale to the uninitiated is the collection of articles that have outlived the utility value of their current owners and are sold to raise money for charity. Over the years we have built up remarkable competencies in procuring and selling material as varied as used clothes to consumer durables. Clothes, furniture, books, footwear, music tapes and cds, vessels and kitchen implements, consumer durables are usually to be found here.

We usually get several small entrepreneurs to participate in the sale with their products and this brings in additional revenue. Food is another revenue stream for us. Our average revenues for a day’s hard work and a few evenings in the run up to the big day are around 30 K nett. This money is then given to various charities supported by our church.

This year was more of the same, lots of stuff, a few shops, good biriyani and all earned us $$$. It was a good sum and it was in excess of the average but for the sake of modesty we will not reveal the same.

Our success over the years has spawned many copy cats but I’m not too sure about the commercial success of them.

We have learnt many lessons from the jumble sale over the years. From planning, budgeting, organizing and project execution with experience as the sole and probably the best teacher. Procurement, logistics, and above all actual sales of the kind that cannot be taught in a B school are some more take-aways.

Till date we have never lost money on a sale and this is creditable since we always start with a zero balance and always begin with a loan for the seed capital. And always we pay of the loan and other incidental expenses including transport, promotion and most importantly food for the volunteers.

The keys to the success of every sale are 1) The generosity of the parishioners who often give away good articles with significant residual value for the sale 2) The good planning and promotions done prior to the event 3) The ability of the volunteers to dispose of everything by the end of the day

However what must not be forgotten in the midst of all this is the commitment of the volunteers who set aside one Sunday and a few evenings prior to that to do voluntary service for the poor. The biggest key to the success is the effort of every single individual no matter how insignificant it may seem that eventually makes the Christmas of an unfortunate brother or sister a little better.

Kudos to my friends in the WS4G for this year’s event and for all the earlier ones. Nostalgia is already biting me as I realize that this is my last as an active member but the takeaways will stand me in good stead when I go ahead for bigger challenges.

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