Cowichan church fights leprosy with sale

Did you know it costs only $3 to cure an adult or child of leprosy?

Twenty-five years ago a small group of St. Edward’s church parishioners, led by Kitty Sarton, organized a plant sale to support Jesu Ashram in Darjeeling, India. Jesu Ashram is now a big centre serving destitute patients with AIDS, tuberculosis, and leprosy. Back in 1989, when we first started our support, it was just a small leprosy clinic operating in the wilderness.

Our first sale was held in St. Edward’s church basement. We sold seeds, plants and flowers, vegetables and fruits, eggs, nuts, and lavender, and took in about $350.

As of 2014, the church has sent 75,000 to Jesu Ashram.

And 25 years after that first small sale, our plant, harvest and garage sale has extended to three venues – two gyms at Queen of Angels School as well as the church hall will be bursting with bargains on Sept. 27.

We have two enormous garage sales, along with our specialties: apple pies and home baking, "Men’s Stuff", mystery parcels for all ages, plants and produce, and Halloween/costumes.

Of course we also have all the usual departments – books, linen, dolls, games and puzzles, craft supplies, a boutique, office, a silent auction, and toys. This year we are featuring boys toys.

Some of the women who planned that first sale are still working for the same cause today. Many of us work all year, preparing for September. We know how much Jesu Ashram counts on St. Edward’s church and the good folks of the Cowichan Valley to keep thousands of patients alive and well.

The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.