MATTOON -- PEO Chapter KQ's 23rd annual Treasure Aisles charity rummage sale is scheduled to be held at a new location within the Cross County Mall on Friday and Saturday.
The rummage sale has moved to an open storefront next JCPenney due to this event's previous venue at the mall becoming part of the construction zone for the planned Marshalls department store. The sale will continue to offer children's wear and other clothing, toys, books, seasonal decorations, and more.
PEO Chapter KQ member Jo Swick said the new venue in the former Deb's storefront is slightly smaller that the previous location in the former Sam Goody space. Still, she said the new spot has the benefit of offering multiple changing rooms for Treasure Aisles customers and an exterior service entrance for volunteers.
"They have been very kind kind to us out here at the mall. The new location is clean and it's easy to get to," Swick said. The Mattoon based Rural King company purchased the Cross County Mall in fall 2017.
Chapter KQ of the PEO, Philanthropic Educational Organization, began holding Treasure Aisles 23 years ago in the back of the Area Education Credit Union office. Swick said the rummage sale quickly outgrew this office, so it then moved to the mall in the early 2000s. The sale been held in various spots there ever since.
Swick said Chapter KQ has continued holding Treasures Aisles over the years because it always gets a good supply of donated rummage sale items from its members and from the community, including PEO Chapter MF.
"We feel really good about the kind of donations that we get," Swick said.
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Chapter KQ member Kathy Oakley said they strive to offer good quality merchandise, not items that are "dirty or ragged." Oakley said many customers return each year to look for bargains and for prized memorabilia among the donated items.
Volunteers from Chapter KQ start setting up tables, clothing racks, and other displays several days before Treasure Aisles opens to the public. They stock their sales floor as donated items arrive and then staff the rummage sale.
Chapter KQ member Carolyn Handshy said members of the PEO sisterhood see each other at chapter meetings but do not have much time to socialize then. She said working together at the rummage sale gives them a chance to get to know each other.
"We volunteer and we chat and we catch up on family matters," Handshy said. "Even though it's a lot of work setting up, I enjoy the time with the sisters."
PEO is a philanthropic organization with a mission of celebrating the advancement of women and helping women further their education through scholarships and grants. Swick said Treasure Aisles proceeds help recent high school graduates who are starting their higher education and adult women who are returning to school.
"(The rummage sale) becomes a fun thing to do for the whole group. There is good fellowship, but we know that it is going to something bigger than us," Swick said.
Treasure Aisles is scheduled to be open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, with "bag sales" for remaining merchandise starting late morning Saturday.