As staff and volunteers at Iowa Central Community College prepare for the annual Share What You Wear event Saturday, they anticipate that it will be one of the best in its 10-year history.
Doors will open for the event at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Career Education building on the Iowa Central campus. Rick Sandquist, one of the event's organizers, said he expects the line at the entrance to stretch across the parking lot as attendees wait to be let in.
"We are expecting around 1,200 people," said Sandquist. "We've estimated in past years there were about 800 people already waiting in line when we get there at 6:30 a.m.."
Once inside the doors, everyone will have an opportunity to browse and select as many items as they wish to take. All items will be free. Everyone in attendance will also be able to select one new item. A gift wrapping station will be available for any items that will be given as gifts.
Doughnuts and juice and hot dogs, chips and cookies will be served for breakfast and lunch. Free childcare will also be available this year.
Sandquist said fundraising efforts for Share What You Wear have been better this year than they have ever been.
"It's been an amazing year for us," he said. "We have raised more money than ever before to go out and buy the new gifts. The classes have been collecting money, we've gone around to classrooms and collected spare change, the Student Senate sold t-shirts and we've had department challenges to see who could raise the most money. There have been all kinds of things on campus."
Grants from Wal-Mart and the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and United Way also helped boost fundraising.
"We were able to double what we made last year,"said Sandquist.
Hosting such a large scale event takes help from the entire campus, Sandquist said.
"We've grown over 10 years," he said. "What started small as an effort from one group has grown to include the whole campus. We now have almost all groups and classes helping out. It's one of the biggest public relations things we do. Our school and the community has really bought into it."
Donations of new or gently used clothing, household items, toys, toiletries and school supplies can be brought to the Career Education building today from 4 to 6 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"The community has been good to us," said Sandquist. "This is our way of giving back to them. Every year we hear it at least once, someone tells us they look forward to this because it is their Christmas."