Last weekend some friends helped to open a FreeStore. I had never heard of the concept, but now I have it seems to be everywhere. A FreeStore does what the name implies. They accept donations and give stuff away to people who can’t afford it.
There was an interesting interview with a longer standing FreeStore owner yesterday, which was very sweet. 38 year old Andrea Berdine tells the story of what drove her to start a “business” where people give if they can or just receive if they can’t.
“Berdine started the project in 2012 after witnessing something that brought her to tears. She was shopping at a retail store when she saw a man turned away because he asked for a coat.
“He was ridiculed, put down, made fun of,” she recalled. “He was wanting a coat. I said, ‘So you have racks and racks of coats here. And that man is cold and he’s wet and it’s raining and he’s obviously homeless.’ And nobody would give him a coat.”
Berdine was stunned. She got in her car and drove around until she found the man. She then picked up her husband’s jacket from the back seat.
“I gave him the coat. Told him he was a man of worth. Told him I was embarrassed that that happened in our community,” she said.”
Most of us would have that spare coat at home, but few of us would have reacted in such a generous manner. We will probably give the coat to a thrift store down the line and they will sell it on to someone that can afford it. Why not give it to the person that is cold and wet right now? A small sacrifice in time for a very compassionate act. I do hope I can see beyond the business of my life if I am placed in a similar situation.
I was saddened to hear that my friends’ FreeStore has encountered some people in the community that are angry about what they are doing. It is a curious reaction that I can’t grasp. I would be intrigued to find out why they feel this way. They don’t have to go there, they don’t have to donate … a little odd I feel.
Good luck to all those people that are trying to make the world a better place, one little solution at at time.