It might be the garage sale season, but it surely is the church rummage sale season, too, as houses of worship raise funds for purposes that include helping the people of Haiti and feeding the hungry.
The sales have popped up as the weather has warmed, including last weekend, at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad-Cities, to this weekend — one dubbed the "biggest sale in Bettendorf," at St. John Vianney Catholic Church.
Lavonne Irving of Bettendorf made her way to the St. John Vianney sale on Thursday.
"These are fun," she said of the sales, adding that they also represent a lot of work for church volunteers.
The Bettendorf sale was, for years, an activity from the men's fellowship group, but that has changed, said Ken Miller, sale organizer at St. John Vianney. The church has the sale on June 15-17, partly because that was an open weekend on the busy church calendar.
The calendar also is a key reason why Church of Peace, United Church of Christ, Rock Island, has a sale planned in June.
"It's the timing of events," said Ed Johnson, an event organizer and member of Church of Peace since 1982. The busy church has a big Market Day, in May, so it could not have it any earlier, Johnson said.
It's gone on now for a few years, and, according to Johnson, it is considered to be a sale that's good for the Rock Island neighborhood.
"We price things reasonably, to accommodate people of the neighborhood," he said. "We try to have a sale that folks can afford to go to."
Proceeds support several church programs, including a food pantry, a book nook at the nearby Rock Island Academy elementary school and a Diapers for Baby Jesus program that provides diapers to parents in need.
Church sales attract a lot of attention, said Anne Wachal, executive director of Churches United of the Quad-City Area.
"And the churches usually do really well with them," she said.
Every summer, she notices more and more sales at church sites, and she said they bring together members, as volunteers. The effort also has the double benefit of supporting a church program or mission.
A third benefit, she said, might be a donation to an organization such as Churches United, for its shelter program.
"It is an effective trickle-down," Wachal said. "It helps different people and groups, and it's become a trend."
Johnson, at Church of Peace, agrees the sales are work. That church will offer a bake sale, and plants for sale, too.
"It will be hairy the last couple of days before the sale," he said. "But I have a lot of good help."