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Pair at miles-long East Peoria Garage sale donating sales to St. Jude

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EAST PEORIA (WEEK) -- Every year thousands flock to East Peoria for a miles-long garage sale, but one household decided to do something different and give their profits to St. Jude.

"We've had several come up here and say 'I was a St. Jude patient eight years ago,'" said Debra Pickens, a St. Jude runner who raises money for the organization every year. "And to hear their story of what they went through down there and how they ya know are amazing now, it's a way to give back."

Each year the runners usually raise their money at local restaurants with music and raffles. They had to get creative this year due to COVID-19.

"To make up for lost revenue, we usually can-shake at Walmart and Kroger, but this year we weren't able to do that because of COVID so we weren't able to raise money that way," said Pickens.

Each runner on the team has to raise at least $1,000 to participate. A garage sale seemed like the perfect solution.

"You could still social distance, wear your mask, people can move around and be safe and the money can still go for St. Jude," said Pickens.

Pickens and another runner, Tiffany Hoffert, said supporting St. Jude's mission is priceless due to never billing a family for cancer treatment. They said shoppers reached into their pockets to do the same.

"We've had several that have just came up and donated, they didn't even buy anything," said Hoffert.

So far, the Hoffert-Pickens duo has raised $600 and hopes that doubles come the end of the weekend. The sale continues through this weekend.

Paige Blanzy

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