When the Rev. Scott Parrish started in church ministry 25 years ago, congregations held small yard sales, where members would bring a box of goods and a few blankets to lay on the church lawn.
“We’d have a little Saturday sale,” said Parrish, the pastor of outreach and mission ministries at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta. “You’d get tape and a Sharpie and price things for a few cents.”
These days, there’s a new “it” fundraiser in town.
Churches are delving into the resale business with seasonal consignment sales that help not only families, but also church ministry and missions.
It’s old news for Trinity, which started its biannual children’s consignment sale 11 years ago.
Each sale draws 200 to 300 consignors with up to 70,000 items. Consignors keep 60 percent of sales, while Trinity’s 40 percent – often $25,000-$30,000 per sale – goes to support more than 35 local, regional and international missions.
“It’s a big deal,” Parrish said. “It’s a neat way where unused stuff helps so many people.”
In Aiken, First Baptist Church’s Pass It On Kidsignment Sale started as a small fundraiser for the church’s Parents’ Day Out program. Today, it exists not only to help Aiken families, but also local ministries.
In addition to funds, items left over are donated to local organizations such as the Aiken Pregnancy Care Center and Children’s Advocacy Center, regional missions and a Costa Rica mission project.
Other models abound. Wee-Peats Children’s Consignment, a popular for-profit sale running this week in Augusta, aims for a “Christian atmosphere” that blesses families both buying and selling, said founder Amber Ramp.
“Every mom wants to be the cool mom,” she said. “It’s just expensive to be that cool mom. You want to be a good steward of your finances in this economy.”
Leftovers and donations from the sale will go to Goodwill Industries.
Fairview Presbyterian Church’s upcoming sale in North Augusta hopes to use Halloween costumes, winter clothes, coats, Christmas items and toys to benefit consignorsand The Fairview Early Childhood Center’s kindergarten and day care programs.
Yard sales are also still popular.
This weekend, First Baptist Church of Augusta raises money for missions with its annual Trash for Treasure Estate Sale. Our Redeemer Lutheran Church will use proceeds from its annual rummage sale Saturday to support the Downtown Cooperative Church Ministries, which provides groceries for those in need.
In a rough economy, resale just makes sense, Parrish said.
“A lot of us end up with extra stuff,” he said. “We all accumulate. It overwhelms our closets and it overwhelms our garages. With consignment, you have a lot more fun and attract a bigger crowd. It’s such a great way to help people in our community.”