Your average family yard sale is expected to bring in, oh, a few hundred dollars.

One on the east side last year brought in nearly $100,000.

This year Desert Skies United Methodist Church will hold its annual flea market sale Thursday through Saturday to raise money for charities.

It takes 150 volunteers a week to set up for the sale on North Houghton Road, north of East Tanque Verde Road.

In 2009, the sale raised $96,000, and an estimated 7,000 people attended. Seventy-five percent of the money is donated to organizations such as the Community Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army.

The rest is used for church improvements, such as buying playground equipment.

The sale spans six acres of the church's land and is organized into categories, including furniture, jewelry, antiques, appliances, toys and clothing.

"If we don't have it, you don't need it," said Dan Hurlbert, the church's senior pastor.

You'll also find a food booth and a commission lot for vehicles. For vehicle sales, which have ranged from cars to boats, the church receives $500 or 10 percent, whichever is less, which is tax-deductible.

The church collects donations year-round and also picks up leftover items from garage sales. Each week volunteers sort, test, price and pack the merchandise.

"The secret is, you have to price the stuff right to get rid of it," said Emmitt Warner, a co-chairman of the event.

When the sale is over, Goodwill Industries picks up the leftover merchandise.

This year's will be the church's 23rd flea market. Desert Skies first held the sale to raise money to buy a computer.

"The folks that were involved had a good time," said Max Crowell, the other co-chairman. "They got the idea that it could help as outreach to the community."

The church also has smaller sales on Mondays from 8 a.m. to noon.

In addition to the charitable donations, the flea market benefits the customers.

"It really helps give people a leg up, especially in difficult times like this," Hurlbert said.

Marissa Freireich is a University of Arizona journalism student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at or 807-7776.