Monday, April 16, 2018

Last June's SWAP in Photos & Summer SWAP Coming Up!

I recently found a slew of photos I took at the June 2017 swap. Enjoy scrolling through as we look forward to the next one on:

2 June 2018
8:00 a.m. to noon
Orem City Center Park, Rotary Pavilion
300 East Center Street

Sharing baby stuff

Love this one: on the left, June 2016, this couple (with help from friends) found a baby crib for the child they were expecting. (The crib was donated by my good friends/neighbors who had moved past that particular stage in life.) One year later, June 2017, here the two, uh, *three* are again, Dad and several buddies now lending a hand as volunteers.

Bikes! Finding new-to-you bikes and helmets. One family rode their bikes to the swap for a wholesome day at the park. They strapped new finds on the backs of their bikes (top R) and had a lovely day out.

Love this photo. What a great way to spend a day in the park: sun, grass and trees, community sharing, and playing games with loved ones. (They scored a sleeping bag, too!)

Reading and learning

From hospital-style beds to jewelry, there's always something interesting at the Free SWAP

Stuff, sharing, and smiles

By supporting the Free SWAP you:

*REDUCE WASTE--less goes to the landfill
*CONSERVE GAS--locally-sourced goods = less gasoline for transportation
*INSPIRE "UPCYCLING"--making something new out of something old
*CONSERVE RESOURCES--save the raw material that would have otherwise been used if you had bought new
*CELEBRATE COMMUNITY--see how our generous and gracious community fits together beautifully

A few swaps ago someone donated this pair of shoes. My daughter took them home. She had many adventures. She grew. She donated them again to the swap. They continue to have more adventures, somewhere, with another family.

And, of course, VOLUNTEERS! Yay for our volunteer family. This is a guaranteed great way to spend a Saturday. If you've got even a half an hour to spare, we'd love to meet you and serve with you. Just show up and say, "How can I help?"

See you soon!

Sharing abundance. Uniting communities.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fall SWAP Report

{Our set-up crew--Chris W., you're missing from this photo!--ready to start the fun. We very much missed Kerry, who was gallivanting about London--a little too far away to make it this time.}

The Free SWAP has become a "family reunion" of sorts for many of our volunteers and guests. The children who were too young to volunteer a few years ago are now joining the ranks; it will be fun to see how they grow over the years of Free SWAP photos. 

Service and sharing are values taught and practiced right here. And we are all the better for them.

{Strangers share a bear, a bike, and some toddler toys.}

{New adventures await these items donated by community members.}

{Hooray for new finds!}

{And more new finds.}

{I had to snag a photo of this delightful family after noticing their playful big group hug.}

{This is the second swap where these two have shown up with a box of goodies to share with perfect strangers--sweethearts!}

{Hurricane Irma destroyed their home in Georgia. They are rebuilding their lives here.}

{This is J. She likes books. (Past photos show this.) She said, "I found a book at the first Free SWAP I came to that I have kept in my purse since." To whoever donated that book years's getting plenty of love. And thank you!}

{The senior generation of volunteers got a kick out of this donation--talk about a blast from the past!}

{We called up the folks at GiveIt and they put us in touch with J.  His kids go to a local elementary school that is in the middle of a clothing drive fundraiser. All the leftover clothing went to support one of our community schools. And, thanks, J, for staying to help with clean-up!}


{As for what *I* found and took home? This fully-functional, beautiful vent cover (right) to replace our damaged one (left). Super random. But it fits perfectly! The other went in the recycling bin where it will find new life as something else.}

And so we close out another Free SWAP season. It was a good one. As usual. We love our community. There is so much love and generosity here. Thank you to all who participated, especially the volunteers! We love you! Until next time...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fall SWAP Coming Up Soon!

{June SWAP--Ah, such a beautiful day. And a big THANK YOU to the folks at giveit who donated their time, energy, and truck! They were a delight to work with. They have developed a donation app that makes year-round giving so very easy--free pickup(!) and it goes to help local non-profit organizations Check it out.}

By this time of year the yard sales have mostly died down. The weather is changing, the leaves on the mountainside are starting to turn. We think this is a great time to throw a final Free SWAP for the year.

As you're getting out your children's fall/winter clothes, check to see if they still fit. If not, it's the perfect opportunity to share those coats, mittens, and boots with other children who sure could use them.

Another thing that we're finding out about the Fall holiday shopping! Toys, books, recreational equipment, musical instruments, and crafting supplies for the creative minds out there. We've seen them all come and go. For free! 

All thanks to the generosity of our community.

Fall Free SWAP
Saturday 30 September
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Orem City Center Park, Rotary Pavilion
300 East Center Street

{donations accepted 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.}

And, as always, we love volunteers! Come join in the fun.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Summer SWAP Coming Up!

Saturday 3 June
8:00 a.m. to noon
Orem City Center Park, Rotary Pavilion
300 East Center Street

Volunteers are welcome to join starting at 6:30 a.m. to help set up. We are at our best when there are enough hands to help make the magic happen!

We are always in need of folks with larger cargo space to transport any leftover items to area donation centers. That starts at noon.

Make a morning of it: bring a blanket, some snacks, and hang out to witness the generosity within our community.

See you then!

Invite your friends and family

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Fall SWAP Report

It was another rainy swap. (Not as bad as the one from a couple of years ago; just a steady drizzle this time.) But, you know what? People still came.

And freely shared with each other.

Have I mentioned before that I love the Free SWAP? It's just about the best thing ever. It's a win for both the givers and the receivers. It's a win for the environment. It's a win for creativity. And it's a win for Community.

{Givers and receivers together (clockwise from L): a hand-crafted rocking horse, a nativity set, a decorative boat-shelf}

{Excited about new finds: a glass drink dispenser, a dutch oven, an over-flowing bag of clothes, and a T-shirt for this die-hard Hunger Games fan}

{Clockwise from top L: lots of clothes come and go, our family's old stroller went to a veteran volunteer who could use it, baskets, rugged army boots, plant therapy donation, my good friend spreading the word, and a bassinet}

And a hearty big thanks, again, to the volunteers who make it so much fun and help facilitate this community event.

{Some of our crew. We love doing what we do.}

Come join us for the next one!

...which will be:

Saturday 3 June 2017, 8:00 a.m. to noon
Orem City Center Park, Rotary Pavilion
approximately 300 E, Center Street

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fall Free SWAP (with quirky new feature) *THIS* Saturday!

Saturday 24 September (that's *THIS* Saturday)
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Orem City Center Park, Rotary Pavilion
300 East Center Street

Introducing the Free Ugly Fruit Stand! 

In addition to sharing clothes, books, toys and furniture, we'd like to celebrate fresh, local fruits and vegetables that often get overlooked because they are... well... "aesthetically-challenged." So much good food goes to waste. And then when you put that together with phrases like "food insecurity" and "food deserts," and, well, let's see if we can't engage in those conversations.

Whether you are a commercial grower or one of those killer backyard gardeners, the Free SWAP heartily invites you to consider the Free Ugly Fruit Stand as a good home for those harvests of funky tomatoes or over-abundant zucchini plants. You'll be feeding tummies and souls. We love to celebrate community! What better way to do that than through food?

***Volunteers are needed!***

7:30 a.m.--Set up the canopy, tables, pavilion, signs, etc.
9:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.--Receive and sort donations
1:00 p.m.--Pack up leftovers, transport them to donation centers

See you then!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Summer SWAP Report

Summer Free SWAP was just lovely. As always. The weather was great and the community spirit was abundant.

Top left: This group of friends found a new home for my neighbor's old crib. One in their party was expecting her first child. Already this child has a tribe looking out for her. Lucky kid. Top right: This family was moving into a new apartment and scored a dining room table--one of the hardest-working pieces of furniture in any home, for sure. Oh, and a stuffed animal and football for the kids, of course. Kids love the Free SWAP. Bottom left: These lovelies shared their smiles and free new finds! Bottom right: These girls pulled up a patch of shady grass and made a day of it. Fresh air, hanging out, and treasure-hunting. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.

I'm amazed at all the items that come and go throughout the morning. We don't have the resources to catalog everything; many times we can only get a fleeting glance at something before it's gone again. I guess that's the idea, though. It's working.

Now, these two gentlemen...this was fun to witness. The gentleman on the right had come a bit earlier and brought some things to donate. As he was making a trip back to his car he passed the approaching gentleman on the left (my brother-in-law, as it was) who was bringing his donations. Among the donations were a couple of canes. As it turns out, the first guy's cane--which he needs and uses regularly--had broken just two days before. 


This is part of the Free SWAP's hardworking crew of volunteers--without whom the swap would be overwhelming. These are choice folks, people.

I love hearing the vignettes of people's lives--the life lessons we share with each other, the heartaches and mourning, and the short-but-sweet moments of compassion between strangers.

This woman was a delight to meet. She had heard about the Free SWAP and came at the end to see if she and her family might be able to load up some of the leftovers. She's a leader in her LDS (Mormon) church congregation in a neighboring city and organizes a free back-to-school shopping night for the community members in her neighborhood--many of whom struggle to make ends meet. What a sweetheart she is.

Hugs, indeed.

I am honored to meet such fascinating, complex, inspiring, quirky, funny, nice, hard-working people at the swap.

These are the days that feed my soul.