A flea market to profit the needy

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A flea market to profit the needy

Toting coats and sweaters in the autumn chill, thousands of people will converge on Seoul’s Olympic Stadium on Nov. 8 and 9. But they won’t be coming to watch a soccer match or even a blockbuster opera, and the clothes aren’t for keeping them warm.
They’ll be vendors in one of Korea’s largest-ever flea markets operated by A Beautiful Story, an organization that resells gently-used goods and apparel at low cost to needy individuals and penny-pinchers.
Though the market is over a month away, today is the registration deadline for individuals, and Oct. 29 for businesses. Individuals or families can run one booth, while large groups such as churches can run up to three booths. Vendors with commercial interests will be turned away (though smaller businesses with financial trouble can participate on the condition that they sell their goods at a lower cost than retail). Both registration forms and the final list of vendors can be found at www.flea1004.com. By Thursday, nearly 500 parties had registered to sell goods, according to Director Kim Jae-chun.
The tightly packed tables at any outdoor flea market tend to carry a hodgepodge of items, and this one will be no exception. A Beautiful Store accepts just about any item that is gently worn ― or even new if it’s been lying around the house gathering dust. The list is endless, but here are some suggestions: clothing, shoes, bags, accessories, kitchenware, small electronic devices, children’s toys, books, records, videotapes, sports equipment, small furniture and antiques.
About 1,000 booths will be spread across the stadium’s 21,000 square-meter (1,950- square-foot) grass field and track. Each booth is two square meters in size. Selling hours are from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Individuals pay 3,000 won ($2.50) for a booth, while businesses pay 30,000 won. Mr. Kim said the proceeds will be distributed to needy people who do not receive sufficient financial help from the government.
Folks who cannot man a booth still may help by bringing their items to any of the organization’s eight outlets in greater Seoul, including in Seocho district, Anguk-dong, Sindaebang-dong, Hongik University and Ansan in Gyeonggi province.
A Beautiful Store will even send a courier to a donor’s home to pick up the goods, at no cost! The organization needs hundreds of volunteers to help out with collecting, handling and selling items, not to mention operating and promoting the event.
Call 02-730-1014/5 for details about donating, volunteering and attending. English is spoken.


by Park hyun-young

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