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The Great American Giveaway


Life is full of give and take, especially for members of the Freecycle Network. The six-year-old international organization aims to keep usable items out of the landfill by finding new homes for unwanted items—for free.

More than 1,000 offers and requests are posted to the organization’s Westchester group’s website each month, from the mundane (supermarket coupons) to the fascinating (a vintage grand piano). The postings are circulated by e-mail, and deals and pickup arrangements are arranged electronically. Children’s clothing, household and beauty products that have been tried and found wanting, computer equipment, holiday decorations, firewood, and even food are snatched up, and requests for pet supplies, sporting gear, housewares, and furniture are accommodated.

Tracey C. of Ossining (the organization has a policy of not using people’s full names in postings, etc.), one of more than 7,500 local Freecycle members, has found that Freecycling has benefits beyond cleaning out the attic, basement, or garage. A Russian decathlete and mother of three responded to Tracey’s posting offering a treadmill. “She drove down from Poughkeepsie,” she says. “We wrangled it into her truck, and ended up chatting about fitness and motherhood. She was very inspiring, and even sent me a photo of her doing a long jump.”

On the incoming side, Tracey got a Mac computer for her mother, a 75-year-old widow who is interested in the Internet but felt intimidated about buying a computer. “My mom is now Googling to her heart’s content,” Tracey reports.
To join, go to freecycle.org, type in Westchester County, and follow the links. Or visit the local group.

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