TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The annual University of Arizona rummage sale is no more.
Instead, the Salvation Army will step in to sell all the students’ unwanted items.
More than 7,000 UA students will abandon their dormitory rooms for the summer. They will also be abandoning many of the “things” they collected during the stay in Tucson.
The Salvation Army will be collecting those “things,” and will offer them up to the public.
Three years ago, the University eased out the Salvation Army and started an end-of-year rummage sale to make a profit on all the “things” the students left behind.
That included some pretty nice stuff, like refrigerators, microwave ovens, computer monitors and lots and lots of clothes.
However, the UA soon found out that it was not all that profitable and incredibly labor intensive.
Many of their volunteers found other, more important things to do, like take exams.
So it called the Salvation Army to take up the task once again.
"It's a blessing," said Ed Encinas, in charge of the operation.
It's a blessing because the Salvation Army will collect about 55 tons of stuff it can resell at its four retail thrift stores in Tucson.
It's valuable this time of year because donations usually drop off significantly during the summer months.
But the need increases.
The Salvation Army also has something UA does not. A ready made workforce.
The Salvation Army is a treatment center for men 31-62 years of age who have drug and alcohol dependency.
"Well we usually have about 80," said Major Paul Chouinard, in charge of the program. "We have 84 beds and we usually stay full."
The men live on campus for a six moths to a year to end their dependency and begin the quest for a normal life.
All the stuff that's donated from the students will be cleaned, refurbished and sold.
Much of it doesn’t take a lot of work because it’s like-new.
It's hoped the 55 tons will pay for a month or two of expenses for the men.
“That’s what pays for the men to eat, to be clothed, to see doctors to have counseling, all the professional care they need,” Chouinard said.
It costs $10,000-15,000 per man and much of that is collected thorough the sales at the stores.
The Salvation Army probably collected about 200 small refrigerators, which can are $100-250 when new.
Slightly used, the Salvation Army will sell them for about $30.
“It’s a win, win, win for everybody,” Encinas said.