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. ;)

*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.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Favorite Recycling Center on the News

Interesting look into what happens after the truck picks up your blue recycling bin.

Check it out here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Biking Improves Intimacy

Oh, no, no, no…not “that” kind of intimacy. Though it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve written about that on this blog.

I mean the kind of closeness that comes when we remove the walls we put up.

In this case I’m talking about the physical walls of a car.

I have wanted to take on the challenge of biking my youngest child to her school—4 miles away. (My other children go to neighborhood schools that are close enough for them to walk.) I have been neglecting my bike a lot lately. My go-to vehicle has definitely been my car. So, I’m out of shape, out of practice and my kid just keeps growing bigger and heavier as time goes on. With the upcoming change in season, however, my window for biking was/is closing. Last week I did it! It took me 40 minutes, each way and the next day I couldn’t walk down the stairs without wincing. But I recovered and I did it again yesterday. And again today. (If you live in my area you know how delicious this weather has been. That’s not going to last.)

Here are examples of the intimacy you might experience while biking around town:

{I'm loving the colors}

Intimacy with the crunchy leaves and the sun on your arms and of the simple conversations with your darling child sitting in the trailer.

Intimacy with the laws of physics. And how fun it is to zoom down the big, big hill and scream “WAHOO” together with that child.

Intimacy, during that delighted screaming of “WAHOO,” of all the inadvertent protein that just flew into your mouth. Note: remember to floss tonight.


Intimacy with those same laws of physics on the way back UP that…big…..(pant, pant)……BIG……(huff…huff)….


Hey, for those who were hoping for some heavy breathing in this post, that was it.

(I’ll wait for you to catch your breath.)

Intimacy with some of the best parking spots at the store. Right. Up. Front. “In your face, cars!”

Intimacy with the elements. Blue skies, warm sun, colorful trees. You are not a fan of getting intimate with windy days, though. You two are not friends.

{Pedestrian and biking trail in between home and school}

Intimacy with the roads and the sidewalks. And the mental list your backside is making for the city maintenance crews.

Intimacy with cars. And drivers. You’ve got "special" words and "special" looks-with-your-eyes that you save for those really, really close, close moments together.

Intimacy with the subtle fragrance of the orchards as you pass by and with the crisp water that quenches your thirst while waiting at a stoplight.

Intimacy with the various places on your body that sweat perspire glow.

Intimacy with the people you see. When you’re rolling around on a bike, no barriers, you notice people more. You find that you’re much friendlier with others when biking. When you see other people out biking, you’re like, “Hey, look at us! We are BOTH biking! Look at that! We’re pretty much best friends now! Because we’re both biking!” The relative novelty of it all binds us together. The same secret-society phenomenon occurs when hiking trails in the wilderness. (I imagine this does not occur in places like Copenhagen, where EVERYONE bikes. Not so novel.)

By contrast, how many times do you make a new bosom friend when driving? At a stoplight, you look over and you wave and smile and gesture. The other driver rolls down the window and looks confused. “Look at us!!” you shout happily and point. “We’re BOTH driving!! In cars! Isn’t that great?!” Smile and wave and a big thumbs-up to your new best friend.

Yeah, maybe not so much.

{What kinds of things do you notice when you’re biking or walking?}

*I'm* not the best spokesmodel for bike culture, but *this* blog is drool-worthy fabulous:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Decorating Naturally

I found a perfect example of an all-natural Halloween decoration. It was at the top corner of my living room. Too bad that when I came back later with my camera it was only the cobweb. Unlike before, this time it was empty.

Hmm...must be camera-shy.

I'm sure she'll show up again. Somewhere.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thank You, Deseret News!

A big Thank You to Wendy Leonard and Michelle Tessier of the Deseret News for the story you did on our soggy, but warm-and-fuzzy, free swap yesterday. (Truth be told, it brought me to tears.)

Here's the link: The Spirit of Helping: 'Take Whatever You Need'

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Occasional Depth of My Youngest

"My spirit is climbing trees."--my 5-year-old daughter said as she climbed a tree in a park. 

"Or mountains. My spirit is climbing trees and mountains. Any kind of climbing."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Free SWAP Coming Up! Spread the News and/or Come Volunteer

{flyer posted up at my youngest's school}

The next SWAP is coming up soon. Help us spread the word. Below are links to downloadable color/photo flyers like the one in the photo above. Print them out and post them up. Or pass them around electronically--email, Facebook, Twitter, you know the drill.

c o m m u n i t y   f r e e   s : w . a . p .

for everyone and anyone
Saturday, September 27, 2014
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Orem City Center Park—Rotary Pavilion
North side of Center St. midway between State St. & 400 E.

It’s like a yard sale where everything is free.  Clear out clutter, pass along items you no longer need.   Item donations are welcome—from furniture to home d├ęcor to sporting equipment, with special consideration for seasonal items and cold weather gear.  Please limit donations to items that can be carried by one or two people; nothing that needs special moving equipment—i.e. dollies for refrigerators, etc.—unless you can assume responsibility for transport to its new home.  Simply bring items to the community free s:w.a.p. and then stay and browse the rest of the selection for anything that you could use. 

Note: NO DONATION REQUIRED; feel free to take what you can use.

There will also be a collection bin for any food bank items guests wish to bring which will later be delivered to the community Food Bank in Provo. 

Volunteers needed! 
Get together a group of friends and join us!  
Email desertgreengoddess(at)gmail(dot)com

Any other questions can be emailed to above address.

Facebook group: 
Community FREE S:W.A.P. (Sharing: We All Prosper) - Utah County

s h a r i n g  :  w e . a l l . p r o s p e r .
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