Campus community turns out in droves for yard sale

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URI raises record amount for Ram mascot scholarships,

donates more than a ton of clothing, food to local charity organizations

KINGSTON, R.I. — July 13, 2012 — Aided by wonderful weather and a fleet of volunteers, the University of Rhode Island collected thousands of pounds of food and clothing to donate to local charities and raised a record dollar amount to fund the Rhody the Ram Endowment at this year’s ninth annual Rhody the Ram Yard Sale.

The event took place June 9 and raised $3,571 to help provide scholarships for students who don the Rhody the Ram mascot costume and engage the public when they attend sports, alumni and University-related events.

“The mascot is very important. They’re the face of the University,” said Gerri Beagle, human resources manager of the URI Foundation and Founder/Coordinator of the URI Rhody the Ram Yard Sale.

Recipients of the Rhody the Ram Endowment scholarships must be at least sophomores in good academic standing. The scholarship program helps recruit prospective mascots, retain current ones and reward them for their hard work.

The Rhody the Ram endowment has a current market value of over $40,000 with the interest awarded to those Rhody the Ram students.

The student ambassadors weren’t the only beneficiaries of the generosity of student, faculty and staff donations. When the event ended, the University donated all unsold items to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Rhode Island.

Volunteers and a Jonnycake Center teen group collected donations from all 22 campus dormitories and gathered more than 2,000 pounds of clothing and 1,100 pounds of food. These items were donated to the Jonnycake Center in Peace Dale. Those totals were higher than last year. This year for the first time, volunteers collected five pickup truckloads of donated items from a sorority on campus.

Though overall donations were down slightly this year, Beagle said the event ultimately was the most successful yet because of the number of customers who visited the Keaney Gymnasium parking lot.

“This was the best ever,” Beagle said. “It was a wonderful event this year,” she continued. “There were thousands of people coming through in a steady stream all day long.”

The success was made possible by the help of 30 volunteers from faculty and staff to students and community volunteers.

Items were stored at the Boss Arena for six weeks before getting hauled down to the parking lot and set up for the sale, no easy task considering the massive amount of donations.

“The volunteers were dominantly women. We need to get some strong men to lift some boxes next year,” Beagle said. “This year we filled two and a half big cargo trucks with donations and brought it over to the parking lot. It’s tough work for a group of middle-aged women and one man.”

But it is a worthy cause, Beagle said, one she hopes will attract more volunteers and customers every year, especially with the state of the economy.

“Everybody is in need. It’s awful,” Beagle said. “We do what we can do. “

Pictured above

Nancy Hawksley ( laying down)


1st row: Pat Stein, Gerri Beagle, VP Robert Beagle, Mary Ann Sumner, Donna StAndre

2nd row: Roberta Norman, Trish Casey, Linda Connell, Rhody the Ram, Veronica Pokladnik, Cynthia Burke, Noreen Disandro, Cindy Roy, Flavia Alves

3rd row: Maryanne Mazzone, Anita Burke, Steve Derita, Howard Whaley

Photo by Michael Salerno Photography.