When I was a new member, in 2003-2004, I volunteered for my new member shift at Tossed and Found’s move in day at the Tuesday Morning location in Rockville. It was cold, dirty, wet and my first assignment was to sweep the floor and clean it up as best I could. Within an hour, I was covered head to toe in dirt and dust, with water spots from the leaking ceiling. An hour later I found myself working the book section with 3 other new members- Angie Quinn (my best friend from college), Kim O’Connor Tuomey, and Elisabeth Somerville. Angie and I met Kim and Elisabeth the first time that day in books… at one point I said to the other three, “Who would ever want to be on this committee?” They of course agreed….
A few years later, I received a call from nominating to be the Chair for Tossed and Found’s 2010 sale. For some reason I said yes… even with doubts and memories of my first Tossed and Found experience at Tuesday Morning on my mind.
Turns out the great site that Vornado has donated in Crystal City for the past 6 years is nothing like Tuesday Morning and it gets better with each year. This year, Tossed and Found turned 20! And at an alumnae breakfast, I learned that I wasn’t the only one that thought they’d never do T&F. Of the 20 or so past chairs and members of the T&F committee gathered together… everyone had a similar story. Several transferred out of the league and came back mid-year and the only placement with significant requirements still left was T&F- with a groan, they took it and never left. All ended up chairing. All gathered around the circle had fun stories, happy memories.
When Caren Forsten (our current JLW President) was chair, they lost the site a week before the first drop off and 74 people dropped off their rummage in her 1 bedroom apartment! There were lots of stories about pregnant chairs and Tossed and Found babies. Many had children that spent their first 6 months at the site. All have friends they met at T&F that they still talk to today. Many still close friends. And everyone continues to volunteer at a shift… normally Sunday, Bag Day! We all love T&F for the camaraderie, the satisfaction of seeing a warehouse full of piles of clothes, kitchen items and furniture all transform into a neatly organized store and lots of low dollar purchases can all add up to over $120,000.
It turns out that thanks to that dreadful morning at the Tuesday Morning site, Kim, Angie, Elisabeth and I are extremely great friends today. Elisabeth and I chaired Bright Beginnings for 2 years together, and Angie and Kim chaired Langley for 2 years and have worked the Tossed and Found Administration Sub-Committee for the last 3 years. Elisabeth even joined Tossed and Found as a secondary placement the year I was chair. Kim will be chair for the 2013 sale. And Angie for the 2014 sale.
So… be careful of first impressions, they aren’t always right. Give a placement a second look. It doesn’t have to be Tossed and Found (although I highly recommend you try it again!), but give a placement that you may not think is a good fit for you a second look. Hopefully you’ll meet great friends and enjoy your league experience as much as all of us have!