Authentic Moms holds 3rd annual pre-Christmas Swap Shop
Authentic Moms Pre-Christmas Swap Shop
Friday, Nov. 15
and Saturday, Nov. 16
Elburn & Countryside Community
525 N. Main St., Elburn
Drop off items on Nov. 15
from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Pick up items on Nov. 16
from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
ELBURN—North Aurora resident Sue Gremo said she initially found out about the Swap Shop through an Elburn Herald article, and decided to go to look for home schooling materials. What she found was friendship.
Gremo and her friend were off in a corner, talking about Gremo’s niece, whom she had recently lost to suicide. They were both crying. Nicole Dulski approached them and asked if she could pray with them.
The women bonded in that moment.
Gremo ended up joining one of Dulski’s Bible study groups, and this year, she is volunteering at the Swap Shop on Friday to sort and get things ready for Saturday’s sale. Gremo said she loves the idea of the Swap Shop, and she is looking forward to getting more involved.
“You know someone’s going to use something you don’t need,” she said.
Dulski explained that the rule of thumb for a donation is that it should be in good enough shape that you would not be embarrassed to give it to a friend.
“It’s an opportunity for families to pass on items to others that they don’t need anymore,” Dulski said. “The majority of the people who donate are just ordinary people, and when they give, they find that they get back so much more. It’s an opportunity to love other people and the blessings that stem from there.”
The idea of a Swap Shop began about six years ago with a local Christian mothers’ group called the Authentic Moms. The group of women, who attend several different churches and participate in various local Bible study groups, get together on a regular basis for a meal, fellowship and to support each other as moms.
According to Dulski, an Elburn resident, the swapping began informally among the women. Children are always growing out of things and mothers can always use one thing or another for their children.
A few years ago, the group decided to open up the swap to the broader community, Dulski said. This year will be the third annual pre-Christmas Swap Shop. Held in the gymnasium at the Elburn Community Center, the event has grown, with more people coming and more people giving each year.
The moms in this group feel it is their responsibility as Christians to help others in this way. They are inspired by the scriptures that tell them to love others, both in word and in deed, and especially the following Bible verse 1 John 3:16-18.
“But if anyone has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word and talk but in deed and truth.”
“I’m amazed at God and what he does,” she said. “We couldn’t do this without an army of people. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so worth it, every single time.”
Dulski said the email list of families who want to participate has grown to about 150.
“People are contacting me,” she said. “Complete strangers are giving up their whole Friday, or offer to help on Saturday.”
Dulski said that she and the other moms have been collecting items for the past month or so. They have completely filled a trailer, as well as half of her garage.
This year, a number of people from her church, Valley Brook, have offered to help. Church members meet in the Blackberry Creek School on Sundays.
“These people set up and take down an entire church each week,” Dulski said with a laugh. “They’re good people to have help.”
On Friday, a number of volunteers will show up first thing in the morning to accept additional items from people dropping them off. They will stay to neatly fold the children’s clothes and sort them by size, and set up toys, video games, DVDs, children’s furniture and other items around the room.
On Saturday, moms (and dads) will walk past the bounty, searching for Christmas presents for their children, or for an item that would fill a need or a want.
Although it is called a Swap Shop, people don’t need to bring something in order to take something, although many people do. No money is exchanged, nor any credit cards taken. Whatever someone feels they need or want, they are welcome to take it home.
Dulski said that she recently talked to a woman who works at a business in Elburn. The woman had come to the Swap Shop last year, and this year, is donating some items.
She told Dulski that her husband had lost his job last year, and if it hadn’t been for the Swap Shop, they wouldn’t have had any toys for their children for Christmas.
Dulski said it’s also a joy in her heart that her children are learning that it’s not all about what you have.
“It’s an opportunity to introduce another generation to the spirit of giving,” she said.