Good things can happen just about anywhere. A lot of good things have been happening inside a warehouse in Erie thanks to a non-profit organization called Connecting Hands.

The warehouse, located in the rear of the Connecto Electric Building on McClelland Avenue, is the place where Connecting Hands held garage sales to raise money for various non-profits in the Erie area.  The idea for the garage sales came 12 years ago from Pam Will, who owns Connecto Electric with her husband.

Mary Anne Geary has volunteered for Connecting Hands for all those 12 years. She helped take-in furniture and other household items that people would donate.

"You could donate and then we would clean, paint, wash, polish, present, and then we would have a really nice garage sale,” she said.  

People loved to come to the sales.  They loved to see the donated items. They loved to mingle with the volunteers and the other customers.  They would wait in line before the doors opened. A Connecting Hands garage sale was like a big party.

"They love to be here,” says Mary Anne. “They like to socialize.  We had a group of people that were just always at the sales.  Lined up.  The same guy would always be first in line waiting for us to open the door."  

Each sale would benefit one specific non-profit.  The sales were so popular that non-profits who wished to receive the proceeds had to wait over a year to get their turn. Over its 12 year history, Connecting Hands held garage sales for 110 non-profits.  Over $450,000 was raised and distributed.  It's an amazing thing.  All proceeds go to the charities. Connecting Hands pays no rent to Connecto Electric.  It has no expenses except for gasoline for its delivery van.  It has no paid officers or staff.  

"It was all volunteer work.  Nobody got paid,” says Mary Anne.  

Some good things do come to an end and that is the case for Connecting Hands.  The Wills have sold Connecto Electric and the warehouse. It's time for them to retire.  It's still sad for them, the volunteers and the customers to see this good thing end.

"So many people almost in tears,” says Mary Anne. “I'm not exaggerating. They were so sad that they couldn't come here anymore."

Connecting Hands held its last official garage sale but it will be open Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to sell off its leftover inventory.  The address is 3716 McClelland Avenue.   

Its delivery van has also been sold and proceeds from that sale and this weekend's transactions will be divided and distributed to five non-profits in the area.