The annual rummage sale hosted by First Baptist Church of Fort Oglethorpe Nov. 2 featured a variety of items, from children’s toys and books of all genres to handbags and clothes.

Friends caught up and strangers exchanged glances as they perused the donated items for sale, and a few shared their experiences having participated every year since the church started this tradition.

Thirteen years ago, when Hurricane Katrina made landfall, a few members of First Baptist, particularly a man named Benny Jones, established a Christian Emergency Response Team.

To raise money for this program, they hosted the first annual rummage sale, and it took off and has happened every year since.

After Jones died, the response team began to fizzle into a memory, but the rummage sale still holds strong, with profits going towards youth and church needs.

“We normally host this in the spring,” said Elaine Steele, who has been participating in the event since it began. “But we had so many donated items this year, that we actually had to have an extra sale in the fall.”

Asked about the start of this long continued tradition, she smiled warmly and said, “Benny Jones was the push behind all of it. When we lost Benny, we still continued doing this. I think he’d be proud.”

The church’s next sale will be held in the spring.