The Sherman Goodwill offices kicked off the holiday shopping season Saturday with its eighth annual holiday extravaganza. Shoppers were given the chance to browse and purchase higher-end items that had been donated and set aside throughout the year.


Katrina Coffman, vice president of Goodwill Industries of Northeast Texas, said the event serves as the biggest fundraiser of the year for the organization’s mission of providing job skills and training for those in need.


“Overall, this is the biggest fundraiser in support of our mission of helping those with disabilities and the disadvantaged,” she said. “It is all to assist them in gaining training and ultimately employment.”


For Saturday’s sale, Coffman said Goodwill filled one of its warehouses with items ranging from toys and clothing to housewares and furniture. A large wooden bunk bed sat against the entrance to the warehouse with a sign reminding visitors not to climb on it.


The items were collected all throughout the region and were set aside specifically for this event, Coffman said. Any items that were not sold Saturday will be added to a second extravaganza event in Texarkana later this month, she said.


“We really just try to look at the very best that is donated throughout the year and set it aside,” she said.


For Saturday’s event, organizers charged a $10 cover charge, which went toward providing food and drinks for the event. All other proceeds from the sale of items went to providing job and skills training, she said.


Beyond assisting individuals with finding employment, Coffman said Goodwill also offers job coaching to assist individuals in keeping these jobs.


“It is about giving them a hand up and not just a handout,” she said.


Among those shopping Saturday was Billie McGregor, who wanted to complete her holiday shopping for 10 people in just one stop. Among the items McGregor purchased were toys for children, jewelry, clothing and cologne.


“It is a great deal because you can get new stuff, and you just need to look at the tag,” she said. “If you go to the bigger stores you are going to likely pay three times as much.”


McGregor said as someone who lives alone on a single income, the event allows her to stretch her money further and provide even more gifts to her family than she otherwise could. McGregor said she has only missed the event one year due to an ice storm that forced organizers to reschedule it.


The only issue with the event was the long lines for check out, which stretched about 20 to 30 people deep through the rear of the building. However, despite waiting about half an hour to check out, McGregor said it was worth it for the deals and a good cause.