Looking for something?
Creston Area Swap — a local Facebook group consisting of more than 8,300 members — is described as a message board to buy or sell items.
“It’s usually people selling stuff after cleaning out their closets and garages,” said Creston Area Swap group moderator Stacy Wright Miller.
However, since it’s beginning in 2008, Creston Area Swap has evolved to be much more.
Neighbor helping neighbor
Haylee Pierce, 18, of Creston, recently turned to the swap to help her family search for household items after being displaced from their house in November.
Pierce’s post read, “ISO: Free or very cheap living room furniture. Desperately need soon.”
ISO = In search of.
According to Pierce, her family sold their belongings during the move because they could not afford storage during the time they searched for a new home.
“I did it because I’ve seen it happen on there before,” said Pierce.
For Pierce and her family, local residents offered chairs, couches and entertainment centers for free or a nominal price.
And Pierce isn’t alone.
Regularly, postings appear on Creston Area Swap by individuals starting over after a divorce, struggling parents in search of items for their new baby or simply because they are in search of an item they can not afford or know they can find for a less expensive price than heading to a store.
Tanessa Ludwick, who started Creston Area Swap in 2008, said watching the community step up to help others “has made it all worth it.”
“I live by Keokuk,” said Ludwick. “They started one and I thought (the group) was kind of a cool idea. Creston is a small community and it helps to help eachother out.”
Ludwick started by inviting her friends and family. When her Facebook group reached 1,000 members, she said she was in shock. And since Wednesday, the group has grown by more than 100 new members.
Ludwick, who used to live in Creston, recruited Miller to help moderate the group.
The basic rules of Creston Area Swap are no bidding, no foul language or hurtful comments, all items for sale must have a price posted, no selling of illicit material or firearms and to adhere by Facebook’s user policies.
Miller’s role is to approve new members and moderate the posts to make sure no illicit items are sold, delete inappropriate comments or posts and block users who abuse the group rules and privilege of membership.
“It’s for people cleaning out and selling their items,” said Miller. “They do it there because they can usually make more money than at a garage sale.”
However, Miller said now users are promoting their homebased businesses, writing reviews on local area businesses, seeking childcare referrals, jobs and housing.
Power in numbers
The potential of social media communities like Creston Area Swap to help fellow residents is notable. In many instances, the swap has provided a platform for those who have lost something, need items or help.
“It’s amazing,” said Ludwick. “People want to donate and want to help if they can.”
The concept has become so popular, surrounding counties and towns are creating their own swap groups. Other area swap groups include Taylor County Swap, Adams County Shop or Swap, Adair County Swap, Ringgold County Swap and Corning Area Swap.
The list of items for sale is seemingly endless. You might be surprised by what you will find.