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A co-chair of the first Wharton Auxiliary Trash and Treasure Sale, Barry Evans, left, talks over activities for this year's Trash and Treasure Sale on April 28 with co-chairs Sid Nichols and Don Nelson.

In 1979, several retirees in the growing Uplands Retirement Village moved into apartments, downsizing from their houses. The Wharton Nursing Home Auxiliary decided to have a Trash and Treasure Sale with the leftover items people needed to get rid of due to lack of space. The co-chairs of that first sale were Ken and Margaret Campbell and Barry and David Evans. Only Barry Evans remains from that quartet.

That first sale was held in the Pleasant Hill Community House and netted $1,010. This year’s sale will be held Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Blue Barn on West Lake Rd. next to the old Wharton Nursing Home. Sid Nichols and Don Nelson are this year’s co-chairs. The Blue Barn annex will hold furniture, which used to sell from the Pleasant Hill Community House. In addition, outdoor items will be across from the Blue Barn, sharing that area with a plant sale. Last year, the annual Trash and Treasure Sale raised over $6,400.

The primary purpose of the Wharton Nursing Home Auxiliary was stated at its inception in 1972 to “be a volunteer group working in consultation with the Wharton Nursing Home administration to give any possible service to the home as well as financial assistance — not for the budget — but for the extras that could make the people more comfortable and happy.”

The year that the Trash and Treasure Sale was inaugurated, the auxiliary raised $7,334 from their year-long enterprises. They spent it very carefully on “new laundry carts, chart holders, towels and drapes, equipment for the kitchen, wheel chairs, beverage servers and an electric razor for one of the residents.” If you translate those gifts into 2012 dollars, you can see what an important asset the Wharton Auxiliary was for the nursing home.

In 1999, the auxiliary reorganized into the May Cravath Wharton Association, expanding its sphere of service to encompass not only the Wharton Nursing Home, but the entire Pleasant Hill area. All activities are based on the premise of Dr. May Cravath Wharton, beloved doctor of the Cumberlands, whose vision of hope and opportunity embraced the entire area.

More than 200 members hold four sales a year, generating more than $30,000, all of which goes to improving the lives of people in the area. The largest portion goes for scholarships to enhance the belief that education is the best hand-up to people. But there is also down-to-earth assistance to help people who are struggling to meet the basic necessities of life. The Wharton Homes and Fletcher House for Assisted Living in the Uplands Village also benefit.

Looking over the lists of items for sale during the last 33 years, there doesn’t seem to be much variation from year-to-year. Clothing has never been sold, but donated to the Grab thrift shop in Pleasant Hill instead. Knickknacks, garden tools, linens, kitchenware, appliances, furniture, picture frames, Christmas decorations, tools, you name it, can be found in the Blue Barn or across the street in the outdoor section.

For most of its history, the Trash and Treasure Sale was held in the Pleasant Hill Community House. The sale moved into Heritage Hall, with furniture still in the Community House in 1987 until the Blue Barn was built in 1999. Furniture continued to be sold from the Community House. This year for the first time, all Trash and Treasure items will be at the same site thanks to the addition of the Blue Barn annex last summer, which now houses the furniture.

A few of the interesting items purchased for the Wharton Nursing Home with the proceeds over the years were a Detecto scale with a platform for weighing patients in wheel chairs, an oxygen concentrator, Hydro-Spa baths and a reclining-back wheelchair for use in the beauty parlor. With the Wharton Association’s expanded mission, the funds are used to benefit a wider range of needs. Also, since the Uplands’ retirees keep on downsizing into apartments or the Fletcher House of Assisted Living, the Trash and Treasure Sale continues to serve as a clearing house for their left-over goods.

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On Saturday, April 28, the Grab thrift shop will hold its monthly $1 bag sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Grab is at 1944 West Main St. in Pleasant Hill in a building on the east side of Kash and Kari.