The staff, board members and volunteers of Common Ground Ministries made their first sale before their benefit garage sale was scheduled to begin Saturday morning, starting the event off on a positive note.

“It’s gone really good,” executive director Felicia Snell said. “We’ve had a steady flow all morning.”

The garage sale featured merchandise donated by community members — clothing, children and adult books, small pieces of furniture, toys and a variety of other items — and money raised by the event went directly toward programs within the organization.

“Right now, we’re in the middle of the Summer of H.O.P.E. program, which is a children’s program for children in kindergarten through 12th grade,” Snell said. “H.O.P.E. stands for ‘Harvest,’ ‘Opportunity,’ ‘Purpose’ and ‘Experience’.

“It gives all the kids we’ve been working with throughout the year time to work one on one with us,” Snell said. “We’ve gone swimming, taken them to movies, we’ve taken them bowling. Our all-time favorite is trips to CiCi’s — they love that.”

Snell said about 40 children are enrolled in the Summer of H.O.P.E. program.

The organization’s Web site, www.cgmwaxahachie.org, states the program’s objective as, “To give the children/youth the opportunity for a variety of experiences and to grow in God's world.”

The Web site also states that the program serves as an “educational bridge” for children, as well as a job training program for children participating in the L.I.F.E. program, which is dedicated to “building the foundation of Christian faith and provide college prep for youth in grades six-12.”

“Basically, Common Ground Ministries is a church, school and family mixed into one,” Snell said. “It is open to anyone and mostly our members become members through word of mouth.”

Snell said the organization has been in place since 1991 and many of the members are siblings, cousins or even children of the first members.

Common Ground Ministries offers a variety of programs throughout the year to “provide a safe and structured environment to address the educational, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of children and youth.”

Along with the L.I.F.E. and H.O.P.E. programs, Common Ground Ministries provides school break camps, “Kids in the Kitchen,” Bible club, learning center and Cross Trainers Club.

For more information on Common Ground Ministries, visit www.cgmwaxahachie.org or call (972) 923-2224. The organization’s offices are located at 604 E. Parks and are open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

E-mail Mandy at mandy.bourgeois@waxahachiedailylight.com