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A fundraising Mothers Day plant sale in Woodstock was saved by moving it all online; some plants may be left

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Woodstock resident Mark Ripkey, assisted by Sandy Profeta, unloads raspberry and chive plants dug from his garden - to help supply the 2020 Woodstock Neighborhood Associations online, by appointment only pop-up plant sales. "Pop-up" shops and sales began as early as the 1990s, in large urban centers across the country. These temporary sales are often online, but sometimes they are extemporaneous, physical, in-place ventures, set up by enterprising individuals. When the Woodstock Neighborhood Association (WNA) had to cancel its annual pre-Mother's Day plant sale this year because of the physical distancing required during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, it seemed that revenue for the annual custodial costs for the Woodstock Community Center could not materialize.

Without the all-day plant sale fundraiser this May in front of the Center, Woodstock residents and Plant Sale co-coordinators Terry Griffiths and Sandy Profeta put their heads together and came up with the idea of hosting online pop-up plant sales, with curbside pickup at Profeta's house, near the Community Center.

Griffiths' and Profeta's idea was inspired by the example of Kathy Freeman Hastings, another Woodstock resident, who has for many years had her own personal curbside plant sales in late Spring to provide an outlet for the extra plants she produces when she digs, divides, and pots them in the early Spring. Freeman Hastings sells them for "pittance" prices, and usually has great success.

As a computer expert and writer, Profeta listed available plants already donated by neighbors on the Friends of Woodstock Community Center's Facebook page. She even decided to use her back yard to store the plants, and made appointments with people who wanted to stop by to pick them up after they selected their plants online.

In late April, Woodstock residents Florence Dezeix and Randall Magahay assisted by donating fifty popular "Solomon's Seal" plants, dug from their own front yard in March. In just one day, seven of the plants sold to online buyers at $5 each, out of Profeta's growing backyard stockpile.

When plant sales dropped off a bit, Profeta posted online again three days later – resulting in four appointments a day. She reported to THE BEE that everything went smoothly, with most people paying in exact cash – or "rounding up", as a donation to the Woodstock Community Center. Neighbors could also use PayPal for payment.

To provide background, for those unaware of it, this annual plant sale is co-sponsored by The Friends of the Woodstock Community Center, a sub-group of the WNA, which has a partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation. In that agreement, the Friends group funds the annual custodial fees, and some materials and minor maintenance, at the Community Center in order to keep it open in Woodstock.

In late April, as pop-up sales continued, Profeta – an unusually upbeat person – exclaimed, "It's been very fun." The sale was planned to run through May 10th, and by late April enough funds had been raised to make a growing dent in the amount needed to pay the annual Community Center custodial fees. For more information on that project, and on the Friends of the Community Center group, go online – woodstockpdx.org/friends-of-the-woodstock-comnmunity-center


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