Line outside of Kenyon PD's 'Garage of Goodness'

People wait anxiously to get inside the Kenyon Police Department 2015 “Garage of Goodness” free garage sale. Police will be looking for other ways to help those in need over the holiday season after certain people took advantage of the community’s generosity and put donated goods up for sale online. (Leader file photo)

With Rose Fest 2019 complete, city officials are planning ahead to Christmas in Kenyon. This year, city officials have decided to scrap an event that has become a traditional part of the city’s festivities.

For nearly a decade, the Kenyon Police Department has sponsored an event known as Garage of Goodness. Starting in November, the police department would collect donated goods, organize them in garage sale fashion and allow visitors to take what they needed during the first week of December.

The event quickly became popular within the community, and both the supply of and demand for donated goods grew over the years. Police Chief Lee Sjolander recalled how officers would come in after-hours to prepare a wide variety of donated goods for the garage sale.

“All we asked was for people to pay it forward,” he said.

Unfortunately, Sjolander wrote on the department’s Facebook page earlier this week, a few people began to take advantage of the program, trying to sell items they received for free at the Garage of Goodness.

When Sjolander caught wind of this, he consulted with the community and ultimately decided to cancel this year’s event. Sjolander said is just didn’t feel right to all of the community members who donated their goods and time to see people attempt to make a profit off of their generosity.

Sjolander says he’d be happy to help community members and organizations to organize a similar event, if they wish to do so. He was quick to add that the Kenyon Police Department doesn’t want to completely withdraw from the Christmas scene. Officers are working to come up with an alternative program that could to bring a little holiday cheer to Kenyon families who most need it.

“We’ll come up with something else,” he said. “We’d like to do something where somebody can get something and benefit from it but won’t be able to sell it.”

Reach Reporter Andrew Deziel at 507-333-3129 or follow him on Twitter @FDNandrew.

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