Because of a simple garage sale, a one-year-old girl from Steinbach will have all of the food she needs for a year.

One-year-old Hallie has Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease which means she cannot eat. Rather, she must consume an expensive formula through a tube to get all of her essential nutrients. In an effort to raise funds for their young daughter’s costly diet, Carrie Thiessen and her husband, Jon, attempted a massive garage sale. Armed with hundreds of old articles of clothing, furniture items, and kitchen gadgets, the couple transformed their yard into a marketplace late last week. While they did expect some people would show up, Thiessen says the turnout was totally unprecedented.

“When we opened Thursday morning there was a lineup, down the sidewalk, of people waiting to get in. Some people had to walk for two or three blocks because there was no parking,” she recalls. “It was way, way bigger than I anticipated it would ever be. We were completely blown away!”

The number of people who attended was not the only number that startled the family. Thiessen says the amount of money the fundraiser made was enough to bring her to tears.

“We had a goal of what we thought was already on the high end and we tripled our goal!”

The garage sale made nothing short of $13,000. With Hallie’s specialized formula running as high as $1,000 per month, Thiessen says her little girl will be able to have all the food she needs for 13 months straight without it taking a financial toll on the family, who is already stretched thin for spare change. Furthermore, the Thiessens expect they will be cut off of government support in the coming weeks which makes this sudden windfall all the more meaningful.

“When we added up the total after the garage sale, we could feel the weight life off,” she shares, “I cannot even put it into words how incredibly blessed we feel.”

While the fundraiser is technically over, Thiessen says the generosity has not yet ceased and people are still asking to make monetary donations to the cause. She thanks the community for their outpouring of support and also commends the many individuals who helped with setup and take-down and balancing the books.

It is doubtful Hallie understands why so many strangers were rummaging through her yard between Thursday and Saturday last week. “I’m pretty sure she thought everyone was just here to just smile at her,” Thiessen suggests. However, one day, when she is a little older, Thiessen looks forward to telling her just how much the people of Steinbach care for her well-being.

All items leftover from the garage sale are being divided between the Distribution Centre at Southland Church and the Steinbach MCC Thrift Store.