The St. Joseph Christian Women from St. Joseph Parish in Wauwatosa will hold their annual parish rummage sale July 15-17. The event will occur in the parish hall, gym, gym cafeteria and east parking lot.


For more than 50 years, the women have held the popular rummage sale, which is widely known throughout the greater Wauwatosa area. In 1968, a group of women wanted to raise money to help the school, so they hosted the parish’s first rummage sale.


Thanks to these women, the St. Joseph Christian Women Rummage Sale has raised thousands of dollars to help the school, parish and many outreach programs.


Usually, the women host the Sale in June, but due to COVID-19 and archdiocesan regulations, they moved it to mid-July and out of the classrooms since the custodians are preparing them for fall.


“We have had to make any changes, such as reducing the merchandise we are selling, and will take measures to keep people safe,” said Frances Tollefson, a member of the organization. “Usually, we have about 250 volunteers, but due to a change in this year’s sale, we will most likely have about 125 volunteers.”


In addition to thousands of donations, large crowds attend the Sale. Tollefson said that a line of excited shoppers begins to form hours before they open on opening day.


“Many of the people are previous customers who we recognize and greet. It often takes several hours before everyone is allowed into the building,” she said. “Each day, we have large numbers of people who attend. They realize it is our goal to promote fellowship, help people by keeping our prices reasonable and be good stewards sharing our fortune with others.”


This year, some of the items for sale include furniture, books, children’s clothing, toys, games, puzzles, bikes, framed art, area rugs, computers, electronic accessories, flat-screen televisions, powered lawn and yard equipment, potted plants, and garden decorations. Additionally, there will be a separate shop for new items and collectibles, as well as a big jewelry sale.


“We would like everyone to know that we will be collecting gently used shoes to donate to ‘Soles for Jesus,’” said Tollefson. “This organization collects and ships shoes to the African missions. We will also be collecting metals for recycling and are asking people to wash, crush and donate aluminum cans for recycling.”


A concession stand will be available to purchase hot dogs, chips, soda, water and homemade chocolate chip cookies. This year, the Christian Women’s Organization will offer prepackaged hot dogs, prepackaged sugar cookies and other items.


“Normally, our parishioners bake cookies in their home kitchens and donate them to the sale. This year we have some ‘school moms’ who will make sugar cookies in our licensed school kitchen. The cookies are a special cookie baked and sold at our annual Cookie House Sale every November,” said Tollefson. “Our goal is to have everything safe so people will not hesitate to purchase from the concession stand.”


The sale generally nets between $40,000-45,000 depending on the items donated, and the parish school and general fund receive most of the proceeds.


“For many years, $10,000 a year (from profits) has also been donated to technology,” she said. “We also donate funds to day school and Religious Ed programs. The proceeds help St. Joe’s continue to support its many outreach programs. Proceeds often go to unbudgeted items such as stainless-steel counters in the kitchen, and other high-cost items needed for the kitchen, new chairs, tables and sound systems. We have purchased albs, music books, handbells, garden statues, plants and flowers for the parish gardens and much more.”


If you want to go

St. Joseph Christian Women Annual Rummage Sale

12130 W. Center St.


Thursday, July 15: noon to 7 p.m.

Friday, July 16: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, July 17: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Set up and donation drop off:

July 5 – 9: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

July 10 and 11: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

July 12 and 13: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.