JUNK IN THE TRUNK: Student project generates big support for Liberty House

From baby gear to skis, jewelry and prom dresses to housewares, games and puzzles to sports equipment, there was something for everyone at the Junk in the Trunk yard sale in the Bedford High School lower parking lot.

The June 1 sale was a community service project for students Stuart Pepper’s leadership class, an elective class that explores world leaders in many fields, including political and religious. The students must then plan and carry out a community service project.

The class spent two months planning the entire event, from concept and advertising to cleanup afterwards. Senior Chris Briggs made a video of a group of first-graders announcing the details of Junk in the Trunk. The concept is simple: the organizers advertise and arrange the sale, vendors pay $20 to park their cars in the lot, and they get to keep the proceeds from all the items they sell.

The money collected from parking fees and donations will go to Liberty House, a nonprofit organization based in Manchester that assists homeless veterans. In addition to transitional housing, Liberty House offers a variety of services such as case management, employment and housing assistance, food, clothing and outer agency referrals. It also serves the community through its food pantry and clothing program.

Senior Jessi Dalrymple was one of the coordinators of the yard sale.

“I’ve been doing all the grunt work,” she said. “I’m the treasurer of the board of directors for a Haiti mission, so I know how to run events.”

She said that more than 60 people registered in advance for parking spots, and she was very excited about the turnout. The weather cooperated too, as it was a sunny, hot Sunday and there was a steady stream of shoppers.

Although most people were selling typical yard sale items, there were several tables with crafts and handiwork, as well as a Dog Pound table with merchandise from the school store. A popular tent was run by Greater Bedford Womenade, a charity that supports local families in crisis. Almost-new semi-formal dresses were on sale for just $5, and a wide array of purses and jewelry also at bargain prices.

Some students helped direct traffic, others staffed the refreshment tables and emptied the trash, some helped with face painting, and keeping the music playing and the crowd happy. There was even impromptu dancing, especially when the “Electric Slide” was on. All the students were happy to explain to vendors and shoppers what Liberty House does and why this fundraiser was important to them.

“I think it’s a good idea to help the veterans who have given us freedom,” said Emily Curran. “We should be able to give back to them.”

Lindsay Dyrvik explained how the class had several potential charities in mind, but after visiting Liberty House and seeing the food pantry and clothing available, and witnessing firsthand how the veterans were being helped, the class made the decision to donate the proceeds there.

Senior Manny Carrera gladly volunteered for a shift at the booth for donations to Liberty House. He has enlisted in the Marines and will leave for boot camp in a few months.

“If I ever ended up in a situation where I had to go to Liberty House, I’d be overwhelmed,” he said. “It would make my day to get these donations.”