Cocke County yard sale to benefit tornado victims

5:19 PM, May 7, 2011   |    comments
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It was bargain-hunting with a twist at one Cocke County church on Saturday.

"We've got clothing, we've got shoes, we've got household items, we've just got a variety of everything, and most of this has been donated by our church members," said Sarah Preston, who helped to organize a yard sale and bake sale at her church.

The First United Methodist Church in Newport first planned to hold the sale to raise funds for its various charity missions, but after the deadly storms recently rolled through East Tennessee, plans changed.

"The closer we got to it after the tornado, we decided that, probably, tornado victims needed our help more than we needed to do some of the projects we had in mind," Preston.

One of those projects was outfitting a classroom at the church with equipment to transform it into a media room.

Preston said those plans were set aside until a recent Sunday when a member of the congregation offered up $2,000 to pay for the renovation.

So now, the church can move forward with its plans and use the proceeds from the yard sale to benefit tornado victims.

During the sale, several men from the church were busy cutting damaged branches off trees on the church lawn and moving the battered church sign that was blown off its posts in the storm.

Melissa Jenkins stopped by the event with her son, who tested out plenty of the toys. 

She says nearly everyone in the area knows someone who was affected by the storms or has been affected personally.

"I just wanted to come out and browse, find some good sales, and help the community," she said.

Church members had plans to donate whatever items were left over to an area charity.

"We are just delighted," Preston said. "We've had wonderful turnout, people have been so gracious and the church has just given and given and given."

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