Queen of the Apostles to hold 19th annual Huge Rummage Sale Parish Council of women take on herculean task


On Friday, June 23rd, the Queen of the Apostles Parish, located at 315 West Monroe Street, in Tomah, will be kicking off their 19th annual “Huge Rummage Sale.” In addition to the seemingly endless ocean of items to peruse and purchase, there will also be a bake sale, complete with beverages of coffee, soda, and water, which will be overseen by Pam Steinmetz.

Doors open at 8 a.m. on Friday, and the multitudes that descend upon the purely charitable event will have until 5 p.m. to exhaust themselves in the plundering pleasure of their treasure-seeking adventure. Because all items were donated, and the grand scheme of the event has always been to raise money to support a chosen charity, prices are kept quite low, even on brand-new items, ensuring a steady flow of out the door movement. 

On Saturday, the start time is also at 8 a.m., but the closing time is 3 p.m., with all items going to half price, starting at noon. On Sunday, June 25th, doors open at 9:30 a.m., with the official end to the three-day event arriving at 1 p.m. Sunday is the bag sale, where anything you can fit into a bag is only $5. If an item is too large to fit into a bag, it is half off.

Herculean Effort

As stated earlier in this article, this is the 19th time that the herculean effort of the Parish Council of Catholic Women has readied the gymnasium and adjoining halls and rooms, for this highly anticipated, cyclopean event. The event is so large that it is broken into sections, with the all-women cast of volunteers taking individual command over their perspective departments.

The Herald was given a tour of the rummage labyrinth by Rose Vanderbloemen, who oversees the “Sports and Recreation, Home Décor, Pictures and large items” departments. Rose informed the Herald that all items in all sections of the sale have been diligently organized, making it rummager friendly.

On the book department, Rose explained, “We have science, we have adult science, we have sports, we even have a section on inspiration.” Other book categories in this area are hobbies, business, cooking and self-help, in addition to the broader categories of fiction, non-fiction, science fiction and biographies.

The Journey

As the tour continued south, setting course through the toy section, long tables of framed art and photos stood on standby, waiting to fill the gazing eyes of passersby. Arts and crafts were spinning yarns and resting on an island table, waiting to find a forever home. Tools and hardware are eagerly anticipating an early pickup, hoping for at least one more project, and a chance at craftsmanship continuation.

As the Herald continued traversing the near-mythical rummage sale, on the morning of June 16th, Rose introduced other department leaders, who were all preparing to price articles within their assigned realms of expertise. In the “Vintage and Extra Nice” zone, was curator, Madonna Kuderer. “Here we have a magazine from the 1960s, with a Lucy [Lucille Ball] on it, I think that’s awesome,” Kuderer stated. “We have a Barbie Doll collection that is worth quite a bit. This is an Indiana Jones Monopoly game, and over there is the figurine set of the 1992 American Dream Team, from the Olympics.” There were also vintage dolls – complete with changes of clothing, and even a 30-inch-tall Superman doll. Pam Rixie also helps out with this area.


Since the ladies do not know the exact price on everything, they look up some of the items on Ebay, to get a ballpark figure of what to price them at. When the Herald was there, there were many green tags that stated the actual price of certain articles. “I picked this up and it reminded me of Indiana Jones,” Kuderer said. “I flipped it over and it said ‘Jackaru.’ I looked it up on Ebay, and it is $185 new.”   

In the “Holiday” section, located in one of the side halls, section chief, Deb Stott, had organized all the festive pieces into featured categories. Spanning both walls in the side hall, attendees will see Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween, all strongly represented, in nicely organized groups.

Hallways to a clothing ocean

Rose led the Herald through what seemed to be a secret passage, back to the “Clothing and Shoes” department. The commander in clothes is Sue Clay, and she shared her strong knowledge of her section. “We sort everything by size. I am a bit more particular than most people,” said Clay. “There are sections for pajamas, purses, and even hats. Even with the clothing, in addition to sizes, men’s, women’s, boys and girls, I will also sort by long sleeves and short sleeves.” The professionalism runs at a pique level with all of the volunteers — high level is their norm.

After the sale

Both Sue and Rose informed the Herald that all clothing that does not sell, will get divvied up and forwarded to one of many different charitable organizations. These organizations include Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, homeless shelters, GI Need store, Casa Hogar Orphanage, Mary Morrow’s Attic, and many more. 

Coming into the rummage sale zone, towards the end of the Herald visit, was none other than Natalie Divyak, who had initiated the visit with a phone call to Herald headquarters, earlier in the week. Divyak, along with Jeri Betthauser, oversees the “Books, Hardware, Kitchen, and Toys” departments.

There is also the “Linen” department, which is headed up by Heather McLoughlin, which covers everything from sheets to blankets and throw pillows to quilts. Rose Vanderbloemen said that there will be seven tills is use throughout the weekend. “We will run seven tills. The bake sale runs their own till because that’s the entire parish that brings in items for sale. The Nice and Old Vintage area, we run a till there because it is specialty items. The food court will run their own till. Then, we will have four main tills running all weekend.”

A word from Father Matthew

Father Matthew Bowe, who is currently in southern France, explained, in an email, what this sale means to the church.     

To grow the youth group that provides other opportunities will require a financial investment. These other opportunities include weekend activities, a trip to a shrine, and, hopefully, an inner-city service experience in Milwaukee. The experience in Milwaukee will allow the youth to experience poverty in a large city that they cannot see in Tomah. These things have costs, and I am grateful for the Parish Council of Catholic Women, who have pledged to donate money, to help kickstart new opportunities for the youth.”

Father Matthew continued on, “Part of the proceeds of the Rummage Sale this year will help to fund these and other activities for the youth group this upcoming year. The dedicated ladies have spent many hours organizing, sorting, and pricing numerous items. Not only do the proceeds benefit the youth group and other charities, but the cheap prices are helpful for families to find and afford clothes and other items for their homes."

For additional information, you can contact Rose Vanderbloemen by email, ay vandy372.rv@gmail.com or by phone, at 608-343-1850.

Benny Mailman, Finding 42, Huge Rummage Sale, Queen of the Apostles Church, Tomah, Monroe County Herald, Tomah events


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