Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fall Free SWAP Report

Guess what? It rained.

(This is why I reserve the pavilion every time. It's worth it to me to know that we will have protection in case of inclement weather.)

But, people came! Delightful new volunteers (like Ericka and Eva, in group photo above) joined veteran volunteers (I'm looking at you, Roy and Jill, in group photo above) in a soggy, but satisfying, day of service.

{Kerry out in the rain at the start of the swap. I think she was posting a notice online that we were, indeed, still holding the swap despite the rain.}

The rain made quick work of some of our beloved cardboard signs that we have used over the past several swaps. They disintegrated before our eyes, poor things. (To do: print more business cards in English and Spanish, and order new signs!)

Some of our younger volunteers eagerly took on their assignments as umbrella escorts. They took turns walking participants to and from the SWAP using a generously-sized golf umbrella.

Fortunately we had some decent stretches of time when the rain let up. Some of the things that came and went included a few TVs, some skis, industrial power vacuum, instrument cases, gun cases, toys, clothes, and kitchen ware.

One gentleman came with his trailer fully-laden with construction equipment, tools, gas cans, a ladder and a bunch of stuff I couldn't identify. It was a handyman's--or handyma'am's--trove of well-loved goods. Story was* the man's neighbor, a widow of 5 years, had a garage full of her husband's things that were sitting, untouched, unused. This man helped his neighbor clean out her garage and offered to load up his trailer and bring the load down to the SWAP to see if others could put those tools back to good use. It was like Santa with his sleigh. And most of that stuff was snatched right up, ready to start new adventures.

{there he is in the white shirt behind the trailer--bless you, good sir}

{couch and armchair--yup, you can bet those got taken}

{Hey, there's my dad helping to bring in another donation. It sure was a treat to have my parents in town that weekend!}

New volunteer Suzan took it upon herself to donate her truck and her driving to help anyone take large loads home--like the couch. She had spent years driving delivery vehicles for Deseret Industries.(D.I. stores are LDS/Mormon Church-based thrift stores) Now she wanted to drive for us. Bless her. In the end we used her truck to load up all the unclaimed items for delivery to the local thrift store. I'm just going to try to forget, though, how it poured buckets and buckets as we were cleaning up and loading the truck. Seriously. Buckets, folks. Really not the best circumstances. But, hey, we survived to do it all again another day.

{heaven-sent Suzan (wearing the hat) and her truck}

We are always interested in hearing about people's experiences--what they brought, what they found, why they came, etc. The rain made it difficult for people to linger and chat and leave comments/feedback, but we got a few responses. Glad to hear that folks found things they could use. 

We had quite a few food bank donations. We take the food donations to the Community Action Services and Food Bank in our sister city of Provo. Community Action serves people throughout the county.

{delivering your donations--thanks, folks!}

By the end of the event we had counted approximately 450 participants. Considering the rain, I count that a roaring success, indeed!

I've got to tell you: this really is a great "job." Kerry and I get to witness such generosity within the community. And such gracious receiving. And such devoted volunteers. It's a pretty good gig. I highly recommend it. 

You should do one in your area. ;)

Just wanted to give a special shout-out to rock star volunteer Ericka. She was new this year. She came right at the beginning and stayed and worked hard the entire time, all through clean-up. (Her brother and son also joined the crew.) She passed out our business card reminders to everyone she met and, as a native Spanish-speaker, proved very valuable to our team. Thank you so much, Ericka!

*The swift nature of the swap means that I usually don't have time to grab my pen and paper and get down all the details exactly as they are told me. This is my attempt at a best-guess remembrance of the story.

NOTE: I did not expressly receive permission to identify the people I discuss here. That is why I use only first names. If you see yourself in a photo and/or I have written your name and you would like me to remove it, please email me: desertgreengoddess (at) gmail (dot) com. Our paths cross so briefly and a little chaotically, that I forget to ask publication permission. But I find such value in your participation, in your stories, that I can't help but want to share. Nonetheless, I will respect your request to remove your name and image, if you wish it.