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Hope-ful for bargains: Operation Hope coffers filled by tag sale shoppers' offers

The line of shoppers waiting to get into the Operation Hope two-day tag sale Saturday morning may have been shorter than the usual crowds in the past because of rainy weather, but many apparently were just taking refuge in their cars till the doors opened.

"Usually there are people standing in line to get here, but five minutes after it opened, there were just as many people as last year," said Elaine Gonzalez, a volunteer with Operation Hope.

The tag sale, held at First Church Congregational, 148 Beach Road, is open until 4 p.m. Saturday, and reopens Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. The price of admission -- $1 -- gives shoppers access to rooms of bargains, while benefiting the agency that runs local homeless shelters, community kitchen, food pantry and transitional housing programs.

Outside, under tents, shoppers found furniture of all kinds. There also are golf bags and clubs, skis and sleds, beach chairs and planters, and two tables of raffle baskets. Inside, are books, toys, electronics, jewelry, linens, glassware and art work for the walls. There's also a room that houses decorations for holidays ranging from Memorial Day to Christmas and everything in between.

"We had so many things donated on Monday," Gonzalez said. "This community is so phenomenal ... It's great."

Former First Selectman Ken Flatto was at the door, checking for hand stamps that showed shoppers had paid the admission fee.

"It's a great day to shop," Flatto said.

One bargain hunter, Patty Smart, agreed.

"Definitely not a beach day," the Easton resident said, as she searched through the framed artwork, looking for just the right picture at just the right price.

For more information about Operation Hope and its programs, visit www.operationhopect.org.

Genevieve Reilly

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