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.