SARAH SHANNON, WHO has lived for three-quarters of a century, is beginning a 1999 Countdown Celebration at her church.
She has been a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, now on Washington Boulevard, for 63 years. Her grandmother was confirmed at the church in 1876.
Shannon has ordered a cake for the last Sunday of each month. After the 10 a.m. services, she plans to "tear the calendar off the wall" and serve cake.
February's cake will be decorated with hearts; in March, the cake will have shamrocks; in April, umbrellas.
Shannon says she knows the millennium doesn't start officially until 2001, but as far as she is concerned, "When that 999 turns over, that's it."
After her mother died in 1984, Shannon began volunteering at Trinity Episcopal Church Gift and Thrift Shoppe at 6010 Waterloo Road.
Trinity Episcopal Church originally had a chapel, with Sunday school rooms, and a cemetery on the site of the thrift shop.
In 1857, Shannon said, the congregation built the church on Washington Boulevard.
It also established a cemetery close to the new location. That small cemetery is on a hill near the church and is surrounded by Meadowridge Business Park.
In 1980, the congregation converted the small building next to the original cemetery into a thrift shop to create a community outreach program. Church members wanted to help their neighbors and reach out to those not involved in a church community, Shannon says.
Congregants Connie Kassir, Alice Cusick, Laura McClung, Anna Gorzo, Susan Sweeney, Susan Hall and Doris Berger Moore also volunteer at the shop from 10: 30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Elizabeth Kellison, a member of St. John's Lutheran Church -- across from the shop -- and neighbor and friend to many of the volunteers, helps regularly.
Volunteers sort clothing and small household items. They donate at least two bags of goods each week to American Rescue Workers Inc. in West Baltimore and have donated toys and games to the YMCA in Jessup.
Recently, they sorted and labeled clothes and filled 45 to 50 boxes to donate to the Episcopal hurricane relief effort for Honduras.
The shop is a member of LINK, an information and referral service organized by Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia.
The shop will supply kitchen items, clothes, towels and linens to those who come from LINK with vouchers.
This month and next, the shop is holding a half-price sale of clothes and household items. During the sale, people can buy a shirt, a blouse or a pair of pants for $1.
The shop earns enough to pay its electric and phone bills. Volunteers offer clothes, household items and toys at great prices and with camaraderie and encouragement to those who visit.
Shannon says, "Sometimes, you can't get into the heart of things" to understand what people's needs are. But she says volunteers do what they can.
Yard sale tradition
Another secondhand shop, Second Childhood in Ellicott City, held a yard sale several years ago, says owner Stacie Griffin, to benefit a woman who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer and bought clothes for her young daughter there. Proceeds from the yard sale went to support her treatment.
That began a tradition.
The store has held four or five yard sales a year for three years and donated the proceeds to Howard County's Domestic Violence Center.
It is a cause that "pulls at her heartstrings," Griffin says.
The next sale is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 7. The snow date is Feb. 21.
The yard sale will include hundreds of name-brand items, including children's clothes, maternity wear, all-season apparel, baby equipment and furniture, toys, books, games and puzzles.
Most items will be priced at less than $1. Prices will be cut in half at 2: 30 p.m.
Second Childhood is at 9090 Frederick Road.
Griffin and her husband, Tom Griffin, moved to Ellicott City 10 years ago. Tom Griffin worked in Silver Spring, and Stacie Griffin worked in Towson.
She began the consignment shop when her son, Taylor, now 7, was an infant. The couple also has a daughter, Natalie, 4, and moved to Waldorf about three years ago when Tom Griffin was transferred by his company.
Stacie Griffin visits the shop once a week and relies on Ellicott City resident Cynthia Hoffman to manage the business.
Yard sale to boost lacrosse
Mount Hebron High School organized a Colossal Yard Sale yesterday to benefit the Girls and Boys Lacrosse Program.
Last year, Debbie Derwart -- whose daughter Trish Derwart plays lacrosse at Ohio State University -- suggested the program hold a yard sale to raise money.
Cindy and Bill Carr organized this year's event. Their daughter Jill Carr, a senior, plays a wing on defense.
The family moved here from a small town in Iowa in 1992 when Bill Carr was transferred by his company.
Jill Carr had played softball in Iowa. She picked up a lacrosse stick for the first time as a ninth-grader at Mount Hebron.