On Thursday morning, organizers of the Tree Streets Yard Sale began setting up their booths to get ready for early sales on Friday, Sept. 8.
The yard sale, which encompasses the 35-block neighborhood known as the Tree Streets, bounded by University Parkway, West Walnut Street and South Roan Street, has been bringing community members and neighbors together for 28 years, according to Southside Neighborhood Organization President Gwen Hunter.
As the community yard sale has continued to grow over the years — drawing 200 neighborhood vendors and attracting over 15,000 buyers from all over the region — the yard sale has become an important annual fundraising opportunity for local churches, charities and East Tennessee State University student groups.
“It was started 28 years ago because some of the neighbors realized they were having individual sales at different times, and they thought it’d be successful if we all had a sale on the same day,” Hunter said. “The tradition has been going on until now, when we’re in excess of more than 100 properties.”
As the SNO continues to organize the annual community yard sale, it has also been raising money to continue other community projects.
“Each person who is going to sell makes a donation to the Southside Neighborhood Organization,” she said. “The neighborhood handles all of the promotion, and the donations are used for the activities of the organization. The Southside Neighborhood Organization hosts little ‘free libraries’ around the community, we have a Music in the Park program where we have music once a month throughout the summer, we have ‘doggy pots’ around for people who forgot their plastic bags to pick up after their dogs, and then we also have some fun things like potlucks and things like that.”
Other organizers of the yard sale, which will primarily be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, have been working to raise money for other charitable organizations, such as the Philanthropic Educational Organization, which works to help women with limited resources obtain higher education.
Priscilla Ramsey, chairwoman of the program for continuing education, said the group has been working to raise funds for multiple programs that assist women in job training and education.
“We have several scholarship and loan programs associated with our organization,” Ramsey said. “This is a program for women returning to school. In other words, it might be somebody who is recently divorced and has no employment skills looking for support while they get job training or go back to school.”
In past years, some other nonprofit groups have used the event as an opportunity to raise funds for various causes, including Johnson City Schools Orchestra, the Downtown Clinic, Little City roller derby team, CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates and World Vision-Glasses for children worldwide, as well as families wanting to adopt children.
For more information on the Tree Streets Yard Sale, visit SNO’s website at www.tree-streets.com.