Little Flower Consignments

Twice a year, the classrooms of St. Theresa School in Ashburn are turned into a giant children's consignment store.

The school gym is filled with tables of colorful toys. There are racks of every size and type of baby and children's clothing. There are shelves of books, and rows of strollers, cribs, playpens and high chairs.

The transformation is the work of Little Flower Consignments, an all-volunteer organization that gives the proceeds of the sale to Divine Mercy Outreach, a ministry of St. Theresa Church for the poor in Loudoun County. Last year the consignment sale raised $35,000 for Divine Mercy.

"The sale is absolutely wonderful, and all these (volunteers) are such a blessing," said Divine Mercy Outreach Director Marianne Guidos.

This season's sale opens March 12 early in the morning. But for the consignors and 200 volunteers, the event begins Friday afternoon, when the items are dropped off, priced and tagged. Consigners who also volunteer earn 70 percent of the proceeds; non-volunteer consigners receive 50 percent of the sale. They also can designate that their items be donated to charity if left unsold.

At noon Saturday, specially marked items come down to half price, and as the day winds down at 4 p.m., the Dollar Dash begins. The reduced-price times help make the sale even more affordable.

"I find it so nice that those in the community who just want a sale can come but also the folks who can't afford to shop otherwise," said Guidos.

All the items are gently used and in excellent condition. "With children there's always room to share and recycle, like that $35 dress my daughter wore at Christmas one time," said Kristine Maphis, lead coordinator of Little Flower Consignments.

Maphis started volunteering with Little Flower Consignments a few years ago. Now she heads the committee of 25 who host the sale every fall and spring. "I think it's good for the community; it gives people a way to give back," she said. "We try to make the consignors feel valued and volunteers feel welcome. People really look forward to it."

In her years volunteering, Maphis has seen firsthand how the sale benefits the less fortunate. "One woman walked out in tears because she was able to get so much for her kids. Others stories like that make us realize why we do what we do," she said.

Find out more:

Go to littleflowerconsignments.org or call 703-622-0432.

Di Mauro can be reached at zdimauro@catholicherald.com or on Twitter @zoeydimauro.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016