BY MELANIE YOUNG
Grosse Ile resident Bethann Rodgers saw a need and wanted to help after a visit to Kenya a few years ago. In a country full of need, she has made a difference for several young girls.
It started with a family trip to visit her sister Stephanie, who was working there in the village of Mpala, which is north of Nairobi. Rodgers saw first-hand the plight of female orphans and decided she wanted to try to make a difference in their lives. The family chose a “free” garage sale as their way to do that.
Rodgers began the garage sale at her home in 2010. It helps to raise money to place selected orphans into a private Christian boarding school. Stephanie’s colleague is the head elder of the village and chooses the children who will be helped. By being placed at the school, it helps the girls escape poverty and prevents them from being married off or sold.
The garage sale will be held at the Rodgers home at 26225 W. River Road on Grosse Ile on Saturday, Aug. 19, during the Grosse Ile garage sale days.
It is termed a “free” sale because nothing is priced. Rodgers takes donations of whatever the buyer wants to give. She also takes donations from anyone in the community who wants to give items for the sale. She opens her front porch starting the Monday before for drop offs. She said her driveway goes all the way around her house so people don’t have to back out. Residents will recognize the yellow house with all the tables in front on sale day. Any items that are not sold are donated to Purple Heart.
Each year the sale brings in at least $2,000, and this year, Rodgers has some great news to share.
“The first person we sponsored in 2010 started in late elementary school and just got accepted to University in Nairobi,” she said. “She will be starting college in August.”
Rodgers explained that, in Kenya, you must take an exam to determine which college you are allowed into. This student will be pursuing an animal tourism or zoological tourism degree. So far, the Rodgers family has been able to fund the educations of nine girls.
Rodgers also just got word that her sister Stephanie will be in town for the sale with her beau Ian, a native of Kenya. This will be his first trip to the United States.
Grosse Ile Township Community Garage sales are Friday, Aug. 18, and Saturday, Aug. 19, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Those holding sales are asked to register their sale with the Township.
Residents can do so by visiting www.grosse-ile.com and clicking on the garage sale link. The Wednesday before the sales, a map and listing of sales with addresses and descriptions will be available at the Police Department, township offices and on the township website.
According to Marjorie Gape, township garage sale representative, the number of sales has increased over the past few years.
“When we started five or six years ago we only had 20 sales. Last year we had 125,” she said. Gape also wanted to remind residents not to place sale signs at corners of major intersections on the island, as the sale is being advertised in multiple ways.
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