Local churches, charities benefit from annual sale

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 20, 2000

Carolyn Smith of Natchez knows just what her nonprofit organization will do with the money it receives from the fourth annual McRae’s Charity Sale.

&uot;We want to find grants to help fund a building to be used for after-school tutoring and family-type activities for the community,&uot; Smith said, referring to After All Inc., the nonprofit group she directs.

&uot;With this money, we’ll get technical assistance to help us find grants to get that project off the ground.&uot;

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After All Inc. was just one of 50 non-profit groups and churches that benefited from this year’s sale, said Natchez McRae’s Manager Mary Flach. Last year’s event raised $53,000 for local charities; this year’s figures were not yet available as of Saturday afternoon.

The fund raiser works like this: each participating group sells $5 tickets to those who want to shop at the early-morning sale. The group keeps all the money from ticket sales, and shoppers get deep discounts, often on items that aren’t usually on sale.

This year, 856 tickets were also bought at the door the day of the sale. Participating groups were given 10,250 tickets to sell, but it will not be known until later this week how many of those tickets were sold, Flach said.

&uot;We do know that the crowd this year was certainly bigger than last year’s,&uot; she added. &uot;We won’t have specific (sales and charity) figures until Sunday or Monday, but I already know we did well.&uot;

With the help of funds raised through the sale, Our Lady of Lourdes’ youth group will soon get the chance to attend a Christian music concert in south Louisiana.

&uot;This is our first year to participate, and we made about $200 by selling tickets,&uot; said Bridgid Martin, the Catholic church’s youth group director. Last year, the church’s men’s group sold tickets for the sale to help fund its projects.

The sale was started by department store executive Richard McRae and continued by Chief Executive Officer Brad Martin as a way to address all of the requests for help the McRae’s department store chain receives throughout the year, Flach said.

&uot;All our stores do it,&uot; she said. &uot;You wouldn’t believe how many needs are out there.&uot;