Junior League of Washington Expands Tossed & Found’s Reach During COVID Crisis

After cancellation of annual rummage event due to COVID-19, League shifts focus from fundraising to donating $100,000 in unsold goods to community partners, neighbors in need 

May 13, 2020 (Washington, DC)—The cancellation of the Junior League of Washington’s (JLW) 28th Annual Tossed & Found Rummage Sale due to the COVID-19 public health emergency has spurred the League to connect its unsold goods with those who remain in need during this time of crisis.

Tossed & Found, a weekend-long rummage sale, is JLW’s largest spring fundraiser and brings in more than $100,000 annually from merchandise sales. The event was scheduled for March 20-22, 2020, but was cancelled to reflect local guidance as COVID-19 began to impact the Washington, DC, region.

“Tossed & Found is a fantastic pop-up sale that also supports the Junior League of Washington mission,” said JLW President Carly Mitchell. “Since we had to cancel the event prior to opening its doors, our primary goal quickly shifted from preparing for a sale to ensuring that the merchandise could still be put to good use in our community in as safe a manner as possible.”

The League has been coordinating with its network of community partners to redistribute the merchandise. More than 15 local organizations have already collected goods to support their operations and the individuals they serve, including N Street Village, Turning the Page, Bridges to Independence, Women Giving Back, Leveling the Playing Field, DC Books to Prison Project, and the Humane Rescue Alliance, among others.

In addition, Tossed & Found has been collaborating with the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) to support foreign service families who were recalled back to the Greater Washington, DC, area due to COVID-19. More than 100 families—who, until recently, were stationed around the globe—have received donations from the site; many of these foreign service families are currently in transitional housing.

“We are very grateful for the Junior league of Washington donations during this time of need for many of the foreign service families that were evacuated from overseas posts during the COVID-19 crisis. The donations have provided comfort and eased their transition once they arrived to the DMV area,” said AAFSW liaison Jenny Kocher.

Tossed & Found has been distributing its donations through its current pop-up location in Arlington, VA, thanks to a generous lease extension from JBG SMITH and the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID). This lease extension was critical in providing JLW with an additional two months in the sale space rent free to remove goods from the site. For more than a decade, the pop-up location has been donated by JBG SMITH and the Crystal City BID, who serve as Tossed & Found’s presenting sponsors.

“Tossed & Found is instrumental in changing the lives of those in need and improving communities throughout the DC region,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, President & Executive Director of the Crystal City BID. “We were inspired by the Junior League’s ability to quickly adjust its operations and maintain its commitment to helping others in the face of adversity. We are proud to partner with Tossed & Found and are grateful to JBG SMITH for their generosity and flexibility.”

“On top of being an invaluable gift of time, the extension from JBG SMITH and Crystal City BID is a testament to our partnership and many years of collaboration,” said Mitchell. “We cannot thank them enough.”

AAFSW families, Tossed & Found partners, and local nonprofits are able to collect merchandise by appointment only through May 15. Please connect with tossedandfound@jlw.org.