Garage sale helps ailing friend pay bills
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 1:00 PM
Chester Hughes has been a shining light in Jane Taylor Foster's life for at least the past 15 years, but last Saturday it became Jane's turn to do something for Chester.
Jane Taylor Foster and Chester Hughes
Foster first met Chester when he was working for her mother in Canton. After her mother died, Chester was evicted from his home, so Foster and her husband moved Chester into an apartment above her garage until they could find him a place to live.
"He became like a part of our family. He is one of my closest friends. He is special. He would do anything to help anybody," Foster said.
Chester was recently diagnosed with lumbar stenosis, a chronic condition that Chester said involves pinched nerves and arthritis in the back. Chester will undergo surgery, but will be unable to work for a lengthy recovery period of seven to eight weeks.
When Foster heard about Chester's predicament, she knew she had to do something. She drew on a combination of her talents and interests to put together a garage sale. Foster wanted to organize a garage sale that went past dusty furniture and old appliances.
The garage sale took place over the weekend at Foster's home in Canton. Items sold off included 50 or more new clothing items with tags donated from Material Girls clothing store, as well as designer pieces from Foster's personal collection of designer clothing.
Many of the pieces from Foster's personally-curated collection were things she thought she would never sell, but it was a no-brainer when it came to helping out her friend.
The money raised last weekend will go towards Chester's living expenses for the time he will have to take off work.
Friday night they charged a small cover for a preview party. Guests could pay $3 to get a first chance at some of the items. Foster said based on the money collected Friday, they had at least 75 people come through. She said Saturday was less busy but in the end they raised enough for Chester to make it through his lengthy recovery.
"He is such a sweet guy. He is always doing stuff for us and now we have the opportunity to do something for him," Foster said.
Foster said it was a very emotional time where many lives were touched. By the end there were tears of joy. Chester was visibly moved by all the people that came out to offer support, donations and prayers. He expressed his deepest gratitude.
"I just have nothing but love for these people. I think it is wonderful. I thank them to the highest," Chester said.
Foster's friend Fran Riddell said the event was very moving.
"What started out as something very simple has gained momentum," she said. "She's using her creative gifts and talents, with her love for fashion and people, and is funneling it into an event to help this man."
What started as a small event to give back to someone in need in the community grew to bring over a hundred people together over a weekend.