Community invited to Helping Hands’ Super Yard Sale fundraiser Feb. 17-18
“Hands to help, hearts to serve.” For nonprofit Helping Hands of Yuma, they’re words to live by as they continually provide free programming and services for Yuma’s elderly. And in order to be able to do so, Helping Hands holds two signature fundraisers each year in February and December.
Rainy weather set back the organization by a lot, but they haven’t given up. Instead, they’re holding their Super Yard Sale fundraiser this Friday and Saturday, March 17-18 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 12716 N. Frontage Rd, next to Gila Mountain United Methodist Chuch off of I-8 and Foothills Boulevard.
“We fell about $11,000 short because we had to shut down almost an entire day early,” Executive Director Amy Obney said. “And we always had it in December and February, but we just didn’t have enough donations to hold our February sale … now we had to move it to March 17 and 18 so we just need to let the community know that the dates have changed because we’ve got lots of great stuff to sell now but that’s not going to matter if we don’t have enough people to come out and shop.”
Obney explained that the support is greatly needed to keep Helping Hands operating.
“We’re still trying to recover,” she said. “We couldn’t hold two of the yard sales during COVID. We couldn’t hold December 2020 and February 2021 so we’re struggling and trying to recover from that still. We had some reserves set aside. It took all of that money and so we need we need a big showing at this
year’s yard sale … We’re worried that people think that we just cancelled it but we’re still having it. It’s just in March this year and we need to have it to keep our doors open and keep serving the seniors the way we do.”
As for the wares sold, Obney noted that the event is a big one and sorted “like a Walmart” by departments like furniture, appliances, men’s clothing, women’s clothing and more.
“It just goes on and on and on,” she said. “We tell everybody to just wear walking shoes because it’s a big event!”
At the time of her interview
with the Sun, she had calculated Helping Hands having already 1,500 racks and tables full of items for this weekend’s fundraiser. Setting up for the event often takes between 150 to 200 volunteers and about two and a half weeks from the day set-up begins to the day clean-up ends.
One fun fact she highlighted is that the majority of the volunteers are retired. “Our volunteers run from about 70 to our oldest volunteer that’s still super active is 95,” she said.
Their commitment reflects the value they place on Helping Hands’ service, Obney noted.
Services range from transportation for vital appointments and taking seniors grocery shopping or doing it for them to having a notary on hand, giving them supplies and engaging them in social activities.
“A lot of the seniors that we help are homebound because they can’t drive and so we can either go shopping for them or we’ll take them shopping,” Obney said. “We do a lot of social enrichment activities so that might be like a social that they can come to to interact because again, if they’re homebound, maybe they go to the grocery store and the doctor’s and that’s the only time they get out of the house. And we all know, especially after 2020, what loneliness will do to your health.
“So we do friendly calling and we send monthly notes of encouragement, we send birthday cards and we make birthday phone calls. We have some social events and that sort of thing.”
She added that a lot of Yuma seniors are “living on low-income to poverty level” so Helping Hands will help offset costs when able by providing free nutritional drinks or incontinence supplies since they can end up costing a lot.
“In the summer months, we have what we call a hydration program for seniors,” she said. “It’s cases of water and Gatorade. We give away floor fans. And we have an extensive resource list so if it’s something we don’t provide, we have this extensive resource list we share and we will help them make the calls that they need. A lot of times we’re giving that list to their family, like their kids that don’t live in Yuma.”
Helping Hands is also working on developing programming for community education and outreach, such as helping seniors learn how to use their devices so that their relatives can keep in better touch with them and they can manage virtual medical visits as needed from home.
“It makes you think about your own mortality,” Obney said. “But senior services are the least funded. We receive no government funding. No federal, state or local government funding at all. Unfortunately, our seniors are underserved and underappreciated, honestly. They all have terrific stories and lives – we forget that they’ve lived lives long before they reach this point, you know?”
To keep up with Helping Hands, visit their website at https://helpingyuma. org/ or their Facebook at https://www.facebook. com/helpinghandsofyuma. And to help with their fundraiser, be sure stop by on either Friday or Saturday!