Junk in the trunk for Tampa Bay

Community members sell their wares at the church’s annual Junk in the Trunk sale.

St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church has been an integral part of the Clearwater, Florida community for more than forty years. Today, its mission expands beyond the traditional church walls with the creation of the Justice Commission, through which volunteers offer their time to advance solutions for education, criminal justice, healthcare, homelessness, jobs, and the environment.

Several years ago, the Justice Commission was challenged to launch an initiative to benefit the Earth’s natural environment. The Tampa Bay region faces the mounting threat of sea-level rise as well as an ongoing fight to improve water quality in the bay.

To do their part, St. Catherine of Siena held a parish-wide Junk in the Trunk rummage sale. This was part of the church’s effort to encourage parishioners to not indulge in a “throwaway society” but to recycle, resell, and reuse.

Deirdre Treacy of St. Catherine says, “We want to educate our church community to understand that by recycling, reselling, and reusing, they can protect our beautiful landscapes by preventing used household goods, clothing, and other items from filling our local landfills.”

This past November, the church’s parking lot was filled nearly to capacity with 43 vendors in their third annual rummage sale. Each booth required a small registration fee; participants sold everything from clothing and knick-knacks, to household decor. You never know what antique you may find!

This year’s Junk in the Trunk sale was a huge success, surpassing the goals the Justice Commission had originally anticipated. The sale not only brought together community members on a sunny Saturday, but it was also an opportunity to drive home their overall message for a cleaner and safer community.

St. Catherine of Sienna wanted to make sure the profits of this sale went to a worthy cause. They looked for an organization that was helping to make a positive environmental impact, but on a local scale.

“We chose Restore America’s Estuaries to support the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund (TBERF) because we liked how various groups around the Tampa Bay area can fund their local projects through this program and its grants,” says Deirdre.

Any items left over from the sale went straight to a donation center – nothing entered the landfill! Next time you’re cleaning your closet or garage, instead of hitting the curb, consider making a donation or setting up a booth at your local community sale.

Deirdre Treacy is a member of St. Catherine of Siena’s Justice Commission.