Discounts with a mission

A group of seven septuagenarian women in Hyderabad band together to raise money for charity
Residents of Vayupuri and Sainikpuri take part in an earlier edition of the Charity Jumble Sale in Hyderabad.
Residents of Vayupuri and Sainikpuri take part in an earlier edition of the Charity Jumble Sale in Hyderabad.

HYDERABAD: When Hyderabad-based Sudha Gorthi visited the US in 2016, she came across a garage sale: people selling unused and unwanted household goods from their front lawns or garages. “It was my Eureka moment. I called up a few women I knew with a plan to set up the first ‘Charity Jumble Sale’,” the 83-year-old tells TNIE.

This was aimed at selling donated goods to support charitable organisations, started in 2016. Since then, it has since blossomed into a large-scale initiative and attracted over 1,000 customers.

The annual sale features a wide array of items — from used footwear and golf clubs to large refrigerators — at discounted prices.

“We request donors to clean the items they’re donating. This includes clothes, which are washed and ironed. Sometimes, the clothes still have their price tags attached, yet we sell them for less than half the original price,” says Lalitha Aiyer, the chairperson of the sales group.

A team comprising seven women, who are all over the age of 75, residing in Sainikpuri and Vayupuri, organises the sale with the assistance of more than 60 volunteers. This year, the 8th Charity Jumble Sale is being organised on Sunday at the Vayupuri Recreation Centre from 9 am to 5 pm.

“Preparations for this year’s sale began in October 2023. We receive used goods from across the city, either directly or via apps such as Uber, Ola, and Rapido,” Lalitha informs.

A team member prepares for this year’s event
A team member prepares for this year’s event

The process of organising, sorting and pricing the items based on their condition takes weeks. We are fortunate to have the venue provided free of charge by the housing society during the sale, she adds.

Eight years ago, the first event raised around Rs 75,000, today, that figure has increased nearly tenfold. Sudha believes that an item loses its value if it were to be given away for free. “That is why the goods are sold at nominal prices, starting at Rs 10. Our target audience is primarily people from the low-income group”, she shares.

The funds generated from these sales are directed to a variety of charitable institutions, including orphanages, schools for the hearing- and speaking-impaired, schools for the blind, old age homes and organisations supporting children with intellectual disabilities.

To ensure transparency and accountability, receipts are collected for all donations made, Lalitha says.

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