Lifestyle » Vol. 56

Worcester Free Store Brings Help To The City

Sometimes, we live in our own little bubbles, having everything we need to get by and content enough in this to fail to notice the world around us. A good job, enough money to pay the bills (or at least the important ones), heated homes, plenty of clothes and plenty of food. At one point, someone else may have had all of those things, too, but no longer.

Now what if you could help that someone else, simply by giving away things you no longer need and use, imagine how much better the city could be … how much better the world would be. And the Worcester Free Store has provided a way to be able to do this. You donate things you don’t need or wear anymore, and it provides a place for those who need help to go “shopping” for those things they need, with no money expected at all. In fact, there are no price tags.

Need it, take it. Don’t need it, give it. The recipe is simple.

The store, which opened nearly a year ago and is the brainchild of Kent Flowers, was able to provide almost 3,000 items to people in its first month and today gives away more than 5,000 items each month. The response from the Worcester community has been amazing, with people bringing donations in and helping families around them. Though the store isn’t fancy, it provides a wonderful place for people to come and take up to 10 items per day. There is also a book swap at the store. Bring in the books you’ve finished or couldn’t get into and find something new to read.

You may wonder how a store that gives away its stock at no cost is able to stay in business. Well, most of the bills that the store needs to pay to stay open are funded by repairing and selling used electronics, items that are always in high demand. If you have a new TV, console game unit, phone or computer, consider donating your old one to help the store stay around, continuing to help the city.

Aside from donating items such as clothing, shoes, kitchen items, food, toys and more, you can also donate time by working at the store. The Worcester Free Store is always looking for people to greet customers, help sort through and organize donations and help get the word out through advertising and press. Periodically, the store also holds pop-up stores in various locations, which it needs help with as well. People who are able can also help by donating funds through the store’s Facebook page, and any little bit helps.

There are perks for volunteers, as well. Any volunteer activity looks great on a resume, and the store will also provide job recommendations for the future employment of their volunteers, though the benefit to the community is the main goal, of course.

The Worcester Free Store is located at 13 Cambridge St. Stop by and drop some things off or see what help they may need.

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By Jennifer Russo

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