PennMOVES Turned Trash into Treasures

Author: Stephanie Yee, C’08

This past Saturday, I volunteered for the morning shift at PennMOVES. The goal of PennMOVES is to help Penn students find a home for items they can’t take with them when they leave campus at the end of the school year. The program does this in a way that is socially responsible and environmentally aware. PennMOVES collects usable items, such as clothes, furniture, kitchen gear, and non-perishable food items in order to help West Philadelphians and other nearby communities in need. This year, Penn collaborated with Goodwill Industries, and all of the proceeds from the sale went to support Goodwill’s local job training programs. Since its inception in 2008, PennMOVES has collected close to 300,000 pounds of items. Imagine all that stuff in a landfill!

The sale was scheduled to begin at 10:00AM. Admission was free, but bargain hunters could pay a $5 early bird admission fee to get in between 8:00AM and 10:00AM. I arrived at 7:15AM for my 7:30AM shift, and shoppers were already lined up outside with their personal shopping carts.

At 8:10AM, we started to see some activity, but not much was happening in the checkout line (AKA my post).

A Quiet Start

By 8:36AM, it was packed.

Full House

This was the 4th year of PennMOVES. I volunteered two years ago when the sale was at the Penn Ice Rink, but this year, the sale was moved to a warehouse at 3401 Grays Ferry Avenue. Initially, I was skeptical about this new location because the Penn Ice Rink is huge and is in such a convenient location for staff, volunteers, and shoppers. However, as soon as I showed up at 3401 Grays Ferry, I knew the move was genius. One major improvement was the addition of a clothing room. The organizers did such a great job sorting all of the clothing. The room looked like it could be a real store.

The left side of the clothing room

Right side of clothing room

By 10:45AM, the main room had almost cleared out. I couldn’t believe how many items had already sold.

Quiet Once Again

I can’t wait to find out how much money PennMOVES raised for Goodwill. It’s never easy waking up early on a Saturday morning, but it was worth it to see all the happy faces leaving the sale and to see items quickly disappear from the warehouse. PennMOVES turned trash into treasures and helped the community and the environment at the same time. Now that’s what I call shopping for a great cause.


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Stephanie Y.

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