AMHERST – We’ve all received one of those gifts. Maybe you got one this Christmas: a pea green sweater with pink tinsel trim, or a gift certificate to The Keg but you don’t eat meat.
The youth group at First Baptist Church in Amherst wants to capitalize on your misfortune. OK, not really. But they do hope they can make a bit of money for a trip by helping you trade an unwanted gift for something you’d like better.
“Canadian bartering is alive and well at First Baptist Church on Saturday morning,” said Rev. Don Miller.
The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 5, invites people with unwanted gifts to gather at the church and trade for something they’d prefer. The fundraising element comes at the door: admission is $5.
It doesn’t have to be goods, either. Miller said millions of dollars in gift certificates go unused each year, and he thinks some of that is because people just didn’t have any use for the merchandise sold at the store that issued the card.
“Does this not make sense?” said the minister.
Youth group member Forrest Dawe says it does. Giving away something you don’t like, and getting something you do is a good idea, in his book.
Gillian Moore, also a youth group member, saw potential in Miller’s idea. She called it a “neat way” to replace an unwanted gift without having to go to the giver and ask for a receipt.
The funds raised will go to a trip to White Point in warmer months. The group visited Atlantica resort near Chester last year. The youth group needs about $14,000 for the three-day jaunt.
When ribbed about what Jesus did to the moneychangers in the temple, Miller joked that the exchange would take place in the basement. He said being good stewards of our gifts – seeing things used as intended – is positive.
“This is right up the church’s alley.”
As for the possibility a person looking to exchange a gift may run into the person who gave it to her, Miller thought there was humour to be found in the possibility.
“I think it could be a hoot,” he said.