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The Imbler Christian Church made more that $11,000 in 13 days — all from donated yard sale items. That number is still climbing. The church is fundraising for a new multi-purpose building planned to be built behind the church. They are more than halfway to the goal of $400,000 for the project.
FUNDRAISING FOR A CAUSE: Pastor Leroy Stolle and his wife Dodie helped the Imbler Christian Church raise over $11,000 through a yard sale — and the number’s still climbing. - The Observer/AMBER GLAZE
Pastor Leroy Stolle says, “We want to have a daycare, preschool and after school activities. We want to major on families and kids.”
The large yard sale has become such a hit that they have decided to make it a permanent operation — all year long. With the Salvation Army out of business and little donation opportunity in Union County; the Imbler Church wants to fill that spot.
Stolle was less than excited when he first heard the idea of a yard sale fundraiser.
“My wife said two months ago, ‘Let’s have a yard sale for the church.’ I don’t like that stuff. I don’t like to go them and I don’t like to do them,” says Stolle.
But they decided to go for it. After putting an ad for the sale in the paper, mounds of boxes starting coming in. Initially, they were just hoping they could make a thousand dollars or so.
Dodie and Leroy Stolle were astounded — people kept coming and donating. The original plan was to stay open a couple of days. They figured they would stay open longer with all the popularity the sale had gained.
Stolle says, “This is a Christ thing. I didn’t want to do it, now I can’t wait to do it.”
They have had people stop in from Japan, Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, Arizona, New Mexico and the Dakotas, just to mention a few. The church is located on busy Main Street in Imbler that goes from La Grande to Elgin and Wallowa.
When the Stolles moved here, five years ago, they bought the old Imbler Restaurant across from the church. They revamped it into their current home. They were able to donate all the commercial cooking equipment to the church next door. The permanent donation yard sale will be in the gravel parking area across from the church on the Stolle’s property.
The new building will be located on the north side of the church and will be 60 by 120 feet. It will be two stories with a game room upstairs, nursery and much more. They hope to have the building up with the walls and roof and then work on the inside as money permits.
This yard sale is unique because the people are able to name the price. Stolle tells people to donate what they want to go to the new church building. He says people have been very generous.
For example, “A couple guys came up on their motorcycles and one said he didn’t see anything he wanted and handed me $50 and other guy handed me $20 and got a belt buckle and then handed me another $20,” Stolle says.
Some people do take advantage of the donation-style sale, but overall it evens out. Dodie says, “We are not in this to make a profit. We are in this to help people and especially kids. There is nothing for kids to do except maybe get in trouble.” They hope to change that with the opportunities the new building will furnish.
The Stolles are excited for the new endeavor. They have already been given a trailer and dolly to make it easier for them to pick up items from people. Rite Aid donated 30 feet of double sided shelving and three check stands for the cause. Stolle plans to tarp the permanent yard sale area during rain and snow. That way they can stay in business. They can give receipts for charitable donations as well.
With the long-term proceeds from the fundraiser, they hope to hire a youth minister and daycare and preschool employees for the new building. They will be able to rent out the church for weddings and funerals with the extra building. All of this will help the community.
Stolle says, “My passion is kids. Teenagers are hurting and there are a lot of homeless teenagers and we are going to find a way to minister them.”
The Imbler Christian Church has a following of about 150 members and a lot of kids. They draw crowds from Union, Cove, Summerville, Elgin and La Grande. The pastor says he has an awesome and generous church. The Stolles come from Emmett, Idaho. They decided to get back into ministry and were going to travel as interim ministers. But when they got to Imbler their plans changed.
Stolle says, “But we love these people, they asked us if we would stay. I said, ‘Yes, I’m 73 and I am gonna die preaching in this church.’”
To donate, call Stolle at 534-2056.