Garage Sale Fundraiser for Autism Society


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Photo Courtesy of Bloomington-Normal Young Professionals Kiwanis Club.


On Saturday April 5th, The Bloomington Normal Young Professional Kiwanis Club will be hosting its 5th annual Autism Society of McLean County Garage Sale Fundraiser. 

The garage sale will take place from 7 am until 2:30 pm at the Crossroads Center in Normal. 

All the proceeds from the garage sale are given to the Autism Society of McLean County for their summer camp for kids with autism. The money raised goes to helping pay for kids to attend the camp that may not be able to afford it otherwise. 

The idea for the fundraiser came from Craig Luchtefeld while he was a member of the Autism Societies board and helping to start up the BNYP Kiwanis Club. 

“Just knowing that there was a need for someone to help raise money for the Autism Society’s camp was what got me thinking about it,” Luchtefeld, organizer of the garage sale, said. “I thought wouldn’t it be nice if there was another club or organization that was raising money on behalf of the autism society, for their camp.”

 In its first year the garage sale raised $1,800 for the summer camp, which cost $250 per child. The second year the total raised jumped up to $3,125, thanks in part to lessons learned after the first year. 

“What we found out between the first and second year was that we needed more time to market it, more time to get the word out, and we needed to get a bigger space,” Luchtefeld said. “We had no idea what to expect that first year, and we had no idea what to expect that second year either. I think realistically our goal that second year was two thousand dollars. We didn’t think that we were going to raise that much the second year.”

The third and fourth year of the garage sale raised $3,310 and $3,200 respectively. The goal for this years fundraiser is to raise a similar amount of money, in the range of $3,000 and $3,500. 

The garage sale has a name your own price policy, with no listed prices on any of the items. 

“We came up with that policy the first year simply because we knew that it was going to take way too much time to try to assign prices to everything,” Luchtefeld said. 

In addition to saving time for the organizers, the name your own price policy helps generate interest in the garage sale. 

“The name your own price feature is a big draw. Some folks under-pay, some over-pay, but in the end, it normally balances out,” Luchtefeld said.

The fundraiser is looking for any donations possible for the garage sale. 

“Anything that people would typically sell at a garage sale we’ll accept.” Luchtefeld said. “We get all kinds of stuff. Anything from clothes, to exercise equipment, to chairs and tables, to lawn equipment, to golf clubs, it’s all over the place.”

The most important thing to remember about the garage sale is that it is raising money for a great cause. 

“The camp is a fantastic experience for the kids, but since it cost so much money it can be hard for some families to pay for,” Luchtefeld said. “Families that are affected by autism are generally cash strapped, because raising a child with autism cost quite a bit more than a typical child. Being able to provide that financial assistance to the autism society is really important, because the camp is so important to those kids that are going.”

For more information on the Autism Society of McLean County, and their camp for kids with autism, you can visit their website at

The garage sale will be held at the Crossroads Center located at 310 Wylie Drive, Suite 466 in Normal (1 mile from the Interstate Center). 

They will be accepting donations at that location on:

Monday, March 31st from 5-7 pm

Wednesday, April 2nd from 5-7 pm

Friday, April 4th from 5-7pm

Volunteers are always welcome, and those looking to volunteer can register at

More information on the garage sale and the Bloomington-Normal Young Professional Kiwanis Club can be found at