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Someone’s trash can be another person’s treasure. That is the idea behind the swap meets at  Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center, Iowa. It is part of the church’s Creation Tenders program organized by a group of church members who decided to take a more hands-on approach to creation care.

Dave Schelhaas started Creation Tenders. He said the idea for the swap meet started because many people have more things than they need or eventually want. “Realizing that dumping these into landfills contributes to polluting the creation, once a year Covenant members go through our goods and make choices to let someone else have what they might need,” he said.

Tanya De Roo participates in the swap meets. The regular event where people can trade goods and services has expanded into a Facebook community where people can share items and tell about places where an item or service can be found. “The most immediate benefit is the savings, we have experienced from not having to buy things new,” she said. “We also have been able to declutter our home from the things we no longer use by offering them on the page.” A second, more important, benefit is a sense of community where some people have needs and others are able to “meet those needs in a tangible way,” she added.

De Roo said she would encourage other churches to have swap meets. “It has been a fantastic way to meet people I don’t know well in my church, to feel useful, and also to be blessed by my fellow church members.”

Schelhaas added that “the inventory we are encouraged to make of ourselves and our stuff is a good exercise.”

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