TIMONIUM, Md. — The staff at the Clearing House spent all day Tuesday marking and prepping items to be put out tomorrow under the big white tent for the annual Sidewalk Sale.
"We’ll have tables with jewelry and crystal and Christmas items and linens and we have some furniture. And everything is half the ticketed price," said Lisa Hudson, owner of the Clearing House.
This year marks the 30th year of the Sidewalk Sale, which benefits the House of Ruth Maryland. Hudson, who is a board member with the non-profit, says she knew it was important to keep the tradition going even in the midst of a pandemic.
"It’s just something that is near and dear to my heart and to all my staff at the Clearing House. It’s nice to talk about something positive right now that’s really happening in person," she said.
Hudson said all staff members will be wearing masks and asking shoppers to do the same. She says they'll be spaced out, even as people wait in line for the start of the sale at 10 a.m.
All of the proceeds will go to the House of Ruth, which has had to cancel a couple fundraisers this year because of COVID-19. The non-profit helps victims of intimate partner violence, including housing women and children in an emergency shelter and offering programs like a 24-hour hotline and legal and social work services.
"What we’re seeing is women are coming to us in much more critical situations now," said Cheri Parlaman, chief development officer at the House of Ruth. "What’s happening is they’re not reaching out as early as they normally would because some of those opportunities to reach out aren’t there. They don’t have these opportunities to interact with other people, so their situation is much dire than it would have been 4 months ago, 6 months ago or even a year ago."
In addition to the hotline, Parlaman says they also added an online chat option to their website at the start of the pandemic. It allows victims to more discreetly ask for help if they aren't able to call someone.
Parlaman said they do expect to see an increase in need for their services and programs as the state continues to reopen after shutting down in March because of the virus.
"We are anticipating when things completely open back up, which we’re moving toward that, that women who haven’t been able to get out or are still stuck at home with abusers now will have that opportunity to reach out and get some of these services that they haven’t been able to access during most of the shutdown."
All the more reason to grab your mask, checkbook and shopping bag and take advantage of great deals at the Sidewalk Sale while making a difference in the lives of those helped by the House of Ruth.
"I am really proud of our staff because we know there is a greater need outside of our doors and that we make this a priority to get those funds back to the House of Ruth because we know how badly they need them," said Hudson.
The Sidewalk Sale starts at 10 a.m. on September 9, rain or shine, and will go until about 3 p.m. It will be held under a big white tent on the side of the Clearing House off Padonia Road. Only cash and checks will be accepted. Plan to bring a truck if you are interested in purchasing furniture.