Unusual Fundraiser Helps Group Benefit Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2008 - "The Gigantic Garage Sale" at the South Florida Fairgrounds in Palm Beach County July 26 proved to be not only fun for shoppers, but also was lucrative for "Forgotten Soldier Outreach," a care package organization.

"The United Way of Palm Beach County and the South Florida Fair ... do this once a year," said Sue Beard, Forgotten Soldier Outreach's Palm Beach County manager. "It was great! We got $500 for a day's work."

The group began soliciting donations for the sale earlier this month. Contributions included jewelry, lamps, candles, collectibles and "re-gift" items, which Beard described as the gift sets typically available for major holidays.

Only clothing, furniture and stuffed animals were turned down. Those items would have taken up too much room in the group's allotted space, she said.

As it turned out, jewelry, the gift sets and toys and games were the three top-selling categories.

The $500 raised surpassed the organization's expectations for its first-time participation in the garage sale. "I thought maybe $300," Beard said.

The funds raised will cover postage to ship packages to servicemembers on a monthly basis.

"During the summer months, funds tend to dwindle, but our cause and mission continues to grow," said Lynelle Chauncey Zelnar, Forgotten Soldier Outreach's founder and executive director, in a statement. "This [helped] us raise much-needed funds in order for FSO to be able to continue our mission this summer by sending a little bit of home to our soldiers overseas to assure they're not forgotten."

In addition to the money raised through the garage sale, Forgotten Soldier Outreach was the beneficiary of Florida Power & Light's third annual collection drive and fundraiser to benefit the organization.

Throughout June, the company's employees donated CDs, DVDs and calling cards for troops. An annual "Jeans Day," which allowed employees to wear jeans to work for a $5 donation, raised $5,300 for the organization.

"This fundraiser could not [have] come at a better time. ... Unfortunately, funds have been at a shortfall," Zelnar said. "It's so wonderful to see a local corporation, such as Florida Power & Light and their employees, continue to show their support of our troops overseas."

Forgotten Soldier Outreach is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

*Related Sites:*
Forgotten Soldier Outreach  [ ]
Unusual Fundraiser Helps Group Benefit Troops [ ]