Earth To Metro: Family Clothing & Book Swap

As a mom of a two-year-old, I learned very quickly that little kids can grow out of clothes faster than dandelions can spread across the lawn. When I also learned that affordable, fast fashion is contributing to a huge global waste problem, I knew there must be a better way to dress my little one while also minimizing its impact on our environment.

There is one simple and easy solution: hand-me-downs. Instead of buying new clothes every few months, using second-hand clothing for a growing child significantly reduces textile waste (not to mention also saving money in the process). In addition to being a sustainable way to live, sharing the things we have and need in common is wonderful in fostering a sense of community as we raise our kids as a "village."

The idea of a Metro swap meet for parents to exchange gently used clothing and other items has apparently been a dream for a long time. Anna Hong, director of our Metro nursery, has long been inspired by the church in Acts where "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had." (Acts 4:32)

Anna and I mused about the idea of a swap on multiple occasions, and as we recalled conversations with other Metro parents who echoed the same desire, we realized it was time to bring this dream to fruition. We also knew such an event would not only bless families within Metro, but could be a blessing to families in our Englewood community as well. So, we enlisted the help of Sanetta Ponton, Pastor of our Justice, Advocacy & Compassion ministry, who served as our liaison with organizations that especially worked with women, children, and families in need.

We announced the Family Clothing & Book Swap in March. After a month and a half of collecting clothing and book donations, we held a pop-up shop at the Metro office during Earth Day weekend on Saturday, April 21, where families came and shopped for free.

So much of God's love and care was shared and demonstrated through this event. Metro families gave in abundance what they had. Volunteers diligently sorted through all the donations and put together a "shop" that was beautiful and a pleasure to shop through. In the end, a dozen families were blessed with clothing and books, and we will donate remaining items to area organizations that benefit families and children.

Although the swap is over, we can continue to strive to live out its vision in our everyday lives: being good stewards of what God has given us and blessing others with what we have been blessed with.

Submitted by Mary King