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.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Summer SWAP in Orem Coming Up!

Saturday 4 June (that's *THIS* Saturday)
8:00 a.m. to noon
Orem City Center Park, Rotary Pavilion
300 East Center Street

Volunteers are welcome to join me starting at 6:30 a.m. to help set up
(pretty please?)
We are always in need of folks with larger cargo space to transport any leftover items to area donation centers.
(pretty please?)

Trust me, you'll make some good memories--whether you give, receive, volunteer, or a little of all three. Bring some friends/family; make a morning of it. If this is your first time, scroll around on the blog to see photos from previous events.

See you then!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

September Free SWAP Report

{September Free SWAP--Got a couple of banners to help guests find their way. 
Loving the new logo, Kim Bateman.}

Yes, that's right. That says "September." And, yes, that's right; the current month is...(ahem)...May.

Now that we've gotten that bit of embarrassment out of the way...

Here's our celebration of community sharing.

Furniture, electronics, children's toys, and, yes, musical instruments show up at every swap. Instruments in the past have included a drum set and an organ.

Kids have the best time at the swap! There's so much to see and play with that it can be both a blessing and a curse for the parents. 
Sorry and you're welcome! ;)

What a great extended family outing at the park. Pull up a patch of grass, soak in the fall sun and enjoy the feast. New surprises on their way home.

Retro/antique gems for the home artists and a couple of items for the nursery--whether your babies are human or leafy.

Instead of throwing away the items you don't need or want, bring them to the free swap. Chances are your free offerings will be just what your unknown friend needs right now.


We were lucky to be able (in all the high-energy of the swap) to snap shots of both donors and recipients of a couple of items. This is how community sharing adds that extra touch of connection. To see the story of a treasure and its journey from one home to another.

{headboard/footboard--donors above; recipients walking away below}

{donor, left; recipient, right}

We have the most everyday items that come and go. And we always have a handful of quite unexpected donations. Keep 'em coming, folks.

Odd things that you might have seen at the September swap include an ovulation kit (my favorite "unexpected" find), the coolest orange-colored patron to come through our doors, and, my good friend Cowboy Santa helping with promotion. 


We love volunteers and have been fortunate to enjoy the delightful company of veterans and new recruits alike--all eager to serve with a smile. Whatever time they have available. Truth is, the free swap would be *impossible* to do without volunteers.

A hearty THANK YOU to all volunteers past and present. (The photos represent some, but not all, of our crew.)

Thank you, thank you!

NEXT SWAP: Saturday 4 June, 8:00 a.m. to noon; Orem City Center Park, Rotary Pavilion (approx 300 East, Center Street)