HARKNESS - One local church is using a new twist on yard sale season to bolster its impact in the community.
The Harkness Methodist Church has begun a program called Treasures from your Trunk, a unique marketplace where area residents can set up daily yard sales from their own vehicles.
"We're kind of thinking of it like a portable flea market," said Allison Arnold, a member of the church council, which recently voted in favor of hosting the weekend event.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday, participants can park their cars or trucks in the church's parking lot and use them as a sale stand, offering their used clothing, toys, household items, electronics and books in exchange for cash.
In return for the temporary selling space, the church requests a $5 donation from each vendor. No commission is collected on sales.
The program started May 9 with plans to run until Labor Day. The request for donations has been waived for the month of May.
Arnold said the event offers a nice alternative to sellers, who can avoid the work of setting up tables in their yard and trying to do their own advertising. She hopes the church's lot along the main stretch in Harkness will become a popular spot for yard sale seekers.
"I like that I didn't have to do anything at my house to get ready for a yard sale," said Jan Washburn, a church member who brought a few boxes of used items to sell from her pickup. "This way, I don't have to worry about people parking on my steep, narrow driveway."
The vendor spaces are available to anyone, not just church members, with space for about 25 vehicles to park. Arnold said the spaces will be open on a "first come, first park" basis, rain or shine.
"The only thing that would prevent us from having it on a Saturday is if someone had a funeral," Arnold said.
Though its main purpose is to act as a fundraiser for the church's many community programs, church members are also seeing other benefits from the weekly events.
"One of the things I like about it is it's getting us visible in the community," Arnold said.
It's a first step she hopes will lead to more outreach by the church.
That sense of community is particularly evident at the sale itself, which lends itself to fellowship.
"Just sitting down and visiting is half the fun of it," said Arnold.