December was a busy time for the Free Market, as we had built up a huge inventory of Christmas decorations during the pandemic. But almost all of them went to new homes, making both volunteers and customers happy!
Sometimes we find a particular need and do our best to fill it:
Handmade toboggans – Again this year, we coordinated collection and distribution of handmade winter hats for children and teens. Many local knitters and crocheters participated, and we handed them out at the December Food Independence distribution, assisted by Mrs. Santa Claus herself (who also knitted a lot of the hats)!
Hotel-Size Toiletries. A local camp has asked us to save small-size toiletries for their summer programs (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.).
Empty Prescription Bottles. One of our volunteers collects these and we are happy to oblige—although I confess to having no idea what is done with them! Personally, I use them for seed-saving, including a little desiccant packet in each one to keep them dry.
Packing Materials. We save air pillows, bubble wrap, padded mailers and packing paper for a local potter who ships her wares from Elk Creek. We also keep sturdy boxes of different sizes for mailing or storage.
Shoe Boxes. The cat shelter in Wytheville uses shoe boxes (minus lids) as cat beds, so we save those in the back and take them there, along with sheets and towels from our “rags and drop cloths” section to make the kitties comfy.
We love finding homes for things that would otherwise go in the trash can!