I just heard about the most amazing organization that facilitates one's giving and getting stuff for free... I'm now hoping to acquire a really nice antique radio plus I have a bunch of things I no longer need...
My old chum Jay Dowling sent me an email yesterday saying that he'd seen a really cool radio he thought might be of interest to me - a 1952 Superheterodyne Traveler Tube Radio Model 5170 (Nashua). He also included a link to a photo of this little scamp. It looks really, REALLY cool.
Then he said something rather strange: "If you contact the owner and he says you can have it, I'll be happy to pick it up for you and ship it to you." Hmmm, I thought – I must be missing something here." Fortunately, just as I was pondering this poser, Jay called me on the phone and explained all.
Jay had assumed that I would recognize the "FreeCycle" part of the email subject line he'd sent me, and that this would have made everything clear. He was amazed to discover that I'd never heard of FreeCycle and that the rest of his email was therefore a mystery to me.
So the idea is that there's an organization called FreeCycle (www.FreeCycle.org). At the time of this writing the organization boasts 4,864 groups with 7,603,875 members around the world. As you will see from their website, FreeCycle is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.
When you visit the site, the first thing you see is the "Find a group near you" box as shown below:
I entered "Huntsville, Alabama" (because that's where I live), and within a few minutes I was a proud member of the Huntsville group.
As Jay explained it to me, the way this works is that you send a message to your local group saying what you want to donate (or what you are looking to find). If a member of your local group wants what you are donating (or has what you are looking for) then they contact you and – assuming it's still available – you arrange to meet. The usual case is that the person who is on the receiving end drives round to pick up the item in question.
Isn’t this a GREAT idea? Why have I never heard about this before? I am aquiver with excitement. I hate wasting things and I would much rather give something away to someone who can use it as opposed to throwing it away.
Jay also informed me about a whole bunch of other websites offering low-cost or free stuff – I shall report further on these in a future blog, so watch this space!