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“The goal, at the time, was to raise funds to allow some less privileged families to have their children participate in scout camps. The proceeds from the sales were also used to dress the scouts and to buy equipment for their camps” says Brigitte Houssard, president of the association from January 2010 to Avranches.
“When we started we only had about 300 items of clothing in storage. Today we have grown to nearly 10,000 items. It must be said that when we started, in the 70s, the wardrobes were less full and it was not as easy to change as today. “.
Today the association organizes two clothing and children’s articles fairs every year, one in autumn and one in spring, as well as a toy fair in November. Since 2006, the La Bourse aux Garments association has been renamed La Bourse aux Clothes et aux Toys.
A charitable and humanitarian purpose
The financial windfall of the association comes from 10% of sales and registration fees. Over the years, the various annual scholarships have grown significantly. The association has grown into a veritable institution and enjoys a reputation that has gone far beyond the borders of the Southern Channel. Recognized for the quality of the articles offered and a rigorous organization, the three annual exchanges, the most important in the sector, welcome customers from neighboring departments.
“Our priority goes to actions for children”.
This growth has allowed the association, which has remained faithful to the scouts since its creation, to extend its financial support to various local and non-local social and humanitarian actions: “We have been helping a maternity hospital in Burkina Faso for some time. Our priority goes to actions for children. Every year we contribute to the financing of meals at the Saint-Joseph school canteen for children from disadvantaged families. We also give occasional aid to various local associations”. Thus, every year, more than 13,000 euros are donated to these associations.
A real small business
Along with the amount of items being offered for sale, the ranks of volunteers have also increased significantly. “When it was created, the association had a dozen of them. Today we are seventy, plus fifteen men for the installation of equipment, shelving, stalls, dressing rooms and security. “.
Each fellowship requires significant prep and preparation work for volunteers. From registering sellers, welcoming, checking the status of items, sorting by category, setting up stalls, welcoming and assisting buyers, to returning unsold items, there’s work for everyone. “It’s a real small business where everyone has their own mission, like a manager for each category of clothing, or even seamstresses who make small alterations.”
An army of volunteers
The army of volunteers, faithful to each event, underlines the family and friendly spirit of the association. “It’s like a family here, we listen to each other, we give preference to people above all. What unites us is the desire to provide service in a friendly and understanding atmosphere,” said Brigitte Houssard.
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