Two steel trash cans, an old table and a computer chair seem trivial, but for Penn State freshmen Mitchell Grasser and Colin Paulauskus the items signified something much bigger.
The future roommates will move into their first apartment this summer, and they bought their small haul at the winter Trash to Treasure event Saturday in Fisher Hall. It was the first time they went shopping for their new place.
“I’m from Bellefonte, so I’ve heard stories about it being like Black Friday, and it’s a rush early and some things can go pretty quick,” Grasser said. “We were in line at 9:40 a.m., and there were so many people in line ahead of us.”
About 1,000 people shop at the winter Trash to Treasure version, according to Centre County United Way Special Events Coordinator Beth Shaha. The event benefits Centre County United Way and takes three weeks to set up four rooms, according to United Way student co-coordinators Carly McKinnis and Yuritzy Lopez.
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“It’s a win for so many people in so many ways,” Shaha said. “It’s a win to keep stuff out of the landfill, because students donate so much for this. It’s also a win, because people can find treasures for family and friends at bargain prices. It’s also a win for our Centre County United Way agencies, because they can use the monies from this to do good things in our communities.”
People such as Tiffany Smith, of Bellefonte, and Trish Bletz, of Millheim, have gone to Trash to Treasure for years.
“It’s a great cause and a really easy way to support the United Way,” Smith said. “It’s a fun thing to do.”
Those who go to every Trash to Treasure have it down to an art form.
Senior Elena Taylor and her sister, Madeline Houseman, get Houseman’s husband, Adam, to stand in the hallway as they rack up their loot.
Deals, like the one time the Housemans got a digital camera for $3 or when Taylor got a brand new Under Armour backpack for the same price, keep them coming back.
“We love Trash to Treasure,” Taylor said “We’ve gone to the big one for how many years?”
“Probably five years,” Madeline Houseman said. “We get a good stash every year.”
Seniors Courtney Mundt and Ashley Schoonover have bargain shopped at Trash to Treasure for five years.
Mundt’s big deal this year was a small TV for $4, and Schoonover got a new winter coat.
“You’d be surprised at how many things still have a new tag on them,” Schoonover said. “This coat has one. It’s a St. John’s Bay coat, and it’s brand new.”
Sometimes, however, people don’t find everything they were looking for, possibly because they didn’t come early enough to beat the crowd.
Grasser and Paulauskas didn’t see a mini fridge, but they know there’s a good chance they’ll spot one at the larger spring Trash To Treasure sale, which is typically held in Beaver Stadium.
“I hope it’ll probably be there,” Grasser said. “We probably need to come a little earlier.”