Julie Kirkpatrick’s Creativity and Passion Fuel Donations for the OK200

OK200: Hi, Julie, thanks for agreeing to sit down with me to answer these questions. What you did was fascinating and creative. We love your passion and wanted to share it with others.

First, tell us about yourself and why you got involved with the OK200 this year?

Julie: I am married to Cam Kirkpatrick, and we have a 2.5 year old son named Jonah. Cam is an engineer, and I am a cycling, running, and triathlon coach with Zoom Performance. We are both long-time members of the wonderful, generous Des Moines area cycling community. We have a number of friends who have participated in OK200 in previous years, so we’ve had some exposure to the event. Since the birth of our son, we’ve cut our cycling from hours upon hours of training and racing down to bike commuting to work and Burley rides on the weekends. So, while we won’t be participating in the ride itself, we definitely wanted to be a part of it!

Julie Cam and SonOK200: How did the idea come about?

Julie: The idea for a garage sale came out of necessity more than anything else and just grew from there. We’ve moved three times in the last six years. Once you’ve packed up all your belongings a few times, you start to realize how much excess you have! And, having a growing child means that there are always boxes of recently out-grown clothes, gear, and toys piling up. Many of the things were hand-me-downs from friends; we didn’t feel right selling their stuff and making a profit off from it, so we decided that we would pick a charity to support with the proceeds.

OK200: I can certainly relate, three girls later, we make consistent donations of clothes and toys yearly.

Julie: Human trafficking has been going on forever, but it feels like it is gaining more exposure recently. The more I read about it, the sicker I felt, and the more I prayed about it. I began to realize that every night when I would climb into bed, I was able to shut my eyes and rest peacefully, knowing that I was safe, loved, and not fearful of what would happen to me before I woke up in the morning. There are far too many girls, boys, and young women who can’t imagine what it feels like to rest like that. That’s why we decided to help.

First, I started talking to a few girlfriends about throwing a few things in the sale, and as a few of them joined in. This is when I set a goal of raising $1000 – OK200 had a goal of raising $100,000, and I thought it would be amazing to raise 1% of that. I’ve held garage sales in the past and made $500-800, so I thought that with a little help maybe we could hit $1000. I thought we could handle a few more things, so I cast my net a little wider. I put post on Facebook asking for donations, and I got a few more responses. Now neighbors, other cyclists, and friends were dropping off boxes, bags, and other items that were originally destined for Goodwill or city-wide trash day. The garage was packed to the gills, and I figured we’d probably come pretty close to our goal!

OK200: WOW, one great idea after another. I love this!

Julie: I did a quick pre-sale a couple nights before the actual garage sale and quickly sold almost $200 in just over an hour. By the end of the first day, we had made over $1100! We’d surpassed my goal, and we still had one more day to go – and a lot of good stuff left. By the end of the second day, the total climbed to over $1600 to help victims of human trafficking. There are still some really good items left that I will be trying to sell over the coming weeks, so I expect to see the number grow some more. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to everyone for their donations, and there is still more good to come from this. Currently, my garage has boxes of sale leftovers marked for donation to the Animal Rescue League, the Des Moines Bike Collective, Central Iowa Shelter and Services, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Hope Ministries Thrift Shop, and more. Everything that was donated will be doing good somewhere in our community.

OK200: Incredible, this one idea has led to over $1600 earmarked for the survivors of sex trafficking and you were also able to contribute to at least 4 other charities? I would call that a highly successful idea.

We can’t thank you enough for your kindness and generosity. Just as we have experienced over the years, our community is so givng and always willing to help out others.

Julie, thank you for your time today. We appreciate your friendship and willingness to share your story with the rest of us.