The residents of the Brookwood subdivision know about making a difference.

They've been doing it for 21 years with an annual subdivision flea market that has donated $113,000 to local charities including The Women's Fund and Paint a Miracle. 

Due to their success, the group was one of 10 volunteer efforts in the country to be recognized in 2011 by the  Make a Difference Day organization, supported by  USA Weekend.

The Brookwood project received a $10,000 award, which was presented as a check to the Baldwin Center, the group's original charity.

But this tradition of giving may be coming to an end.

"We need more people"

There are two factors affecting the future of the Brookwood project; space and people.

"The Brookwood Clubhouse—where the flea market is held—has been reconfigured and updated, which necessitates the limiting of indoor space," Joanne Marcil, creator and co-chair said. "Most of the flea market treasures will be displayed outdoors in the pavilion."

Marcil said the limited space meant this year's event will be smaller but include many more high-quality items. (See the photo gallery for some of our favorites.)

With these changes to their venue, the project is at a crossroads and in need of leadership with a vision for the future, according to Marcil.

"Although we have a great group of volunteers, we need more people," co-chair Trish Kangas said. "We need a person or two to take on a leadership role."

A tradition of giving

What started as a garage sale in 1992, raising $150 for the Baldwin Center, has grown into an event that raised over $17,000 for five charities last year—and don't think that the Brookwood organizers are ready to give it up.

"We have a tradition of giving that we hope to maintain going forward," Marcil said. "The charities we support look forward to our annual donations."

Ready, set, shop!

Brookwood Flea Market needs you more than ever. If you decide to go, here's what you need to know:

  • What: The 21st Annual Brookwood Make a Difference Day Flea Market
  • When: The Brookwood Make-A-Difference Day Flea Market begins with a Four-Hour Fun Sale on Friday, Oct. 26, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. There is a $4 donation for this early bird sale. On Saturday, Oct. 27, the flea market is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free on Saturday.
  • Where: The flea market is at the Brookwood Clubhouse located at 998 Brookwood Lane, Rochester Hills, 48309 (south of Tienken between Livernois and Brewster). 
  • What's for sale: New and gently used household items, clothing, jewelry, baby items, purses, books, hardware and tools, golf equipment, sporting goods, small furniture, toys, games and many other items.
  • How to pay: By cash or check. You can make checks payable directly to the charity of your choice.
  • Why: Proceeds from the event are to be donated to the five major charities the project supports: the Baldwin Center in Pontiac; the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International; Paint a Miracle in Rochester; and The Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester. Some of the proceeds are also to be donated to other worthy charities.

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