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Consignment Sale Space is Nearly New

December 27, 2018
The Nearly New Sale has been a tradition long before GBMC existed. The first sale, led by the women's committee from the Hospital for the Women of Maryland of Baltimore City, took place in 1955, netting less than $500, but started a volunteer-led tradition that would bring more than just dollars into GBMC's community.

At 63 years running, the warehouse, located on Farmhouse Hill, is getting a makeover. The Nearly New sale has transformed over time. Prior to being located on the GBMC campus, the sale was held in the homes of volunteers. It officially made its debut on the GBMC campus in spring 1966 in the historic Bowen farmhouse. As the sale grew, the need for an additional building brought the first warehouse to the site. Today, the now-11,000 square foot building is greatly in need of some TLC.

"Our volunteers have been working on a shoestring budget for years," Carmen Baeza, Director of Volunteer Services at GBMC, said. "They recycle and reuse as much as possible, and they’re really conscientious about the environment. They've been working with shelving and equipment that most people would not consider functional. But with their talent and ingenuity, they make it work. In addition, a lot of their equipment is second- and third-hand, and not necessarily designed for the space at Nearly New. We decided to fix that."

Building office space and expanding the tiny break room are just a couple of the upgrades the renovation will include. But the revitalization is as much for shoppers as it is for the 56 Nearly New Sale volunteers.

Departments have been reorganized and streamlined to make the shopping experience more fluid. New signage, shelving units, display cases and register stations will modernize the space along with structural upgrades that include removing paneling to expose windows and add light, as well as the addition of eight air conditioning units.

"We're replacing everything. We owe it to them to provide a safe and comfortable facility. They truly deserve our support," Carmen said.

Loyal, long-standing volunteers receive donations at the warehouse four days a week and every other weekend for three months straight before closing for one month to mark and arrange items in preparation for the sale. Extended working hours during the two sales a year (April and October) round out the year with only one month's break after each sale. Then, they are back in the warehouse to accept the next round of donations from the more than 700 community members who donate items.

Annually, the Nearly New Sale brings in more than a quarter of a million dollars, all of which directly benefits patient care at GBMC. An elected Volunteer Auxiliary Board votes on the allocation of funds, and 100 percent of proceeds support needed programs and resources within the GBMC HealthCare System. Touching nearly every area of the hospital, GBMC’s volunteers have played a vital role in the betterment of patient care at GBMC and Gilchrist.

"We are doing this renovation with an eye to the future," Carmen said. "We know this is important, historically, to the hospital and to the volunteers. They've raised millions through the sale. We're renovating so we can keep this tradition going for years to come."

GBMC Volunteer Services is looking for new volunteers who are interested in becoming a part of the team at the Nearly New Sale. Applicants may contact Volunteer Services at 443-849-2050 or apply online at www.gbmc.org/traditional-adult-program.

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