Formed during the recent pandemic, The Free Store Project is a community-centered initiative aimed to solve economic inequality while addressing climate change. We do so by building bright, open air alt-markets full of donated goods: clothing, housewares, art, music, school supplies, books, electronics, toys, oddities & canned and dry foods. All are open and accessible to the public AND everything is FREE! Comprised of donations from the public, for the public. The concept behind FSP is simple: take what you need, give when you can.
While we get so many wonderful items donated directly to our Free Stores, we often supplement those items with quality household and pantry staples. Essentials like laundry pods, pasta, peanut butter, toilet paper, hygiene products, health & beauty supplies, toiletries, and dish soap are especially in demand. When an expectant mother has a request, we want to be there to help. When students need Crayons or folders, we want to be on it.
In addition, to be accessible to the public and meet the needs of our communities- our Free Stores are outdoor and open 24/7, in ALL weather conditions. It takes a toll, and when something breaks, we need to fix it to keep everyone safe. As this work continues and we learn more about the scope of what is needed, we know it can’t be achieved on elbow grease alone. That’s a huge reason why we’re fundraising!
An all-volunteer project, we freely use our hands, hearts and energy to clean, organize and maintain our various Free Store locations. The materials we need for the sites’ upkeep aren’t free, nor is space for operations. While we are actual experts at resourcefulness and upcycling, even sustainability requires basic expenses. The physical Free Store structures cost money to build and additional funding to sustain. From lumber and nails to dustpans and brooms, we need help financing the basic essentials we need to keep making a difference in the community. For today, for tomorrow, for neighbors who depend on us, for their future. Because Free Stores are Forever.
Thank you for your support!
Your donation is tax deductible- please let us know if you need a receipt.
WHAT WE’VE DONE:
In only one year, the Free Store Project has:
Distributed 1,224 individual packs of school supplies (folders, Crayons, colored pencils, etc.) to NYC students in need via donations from Staples and estates.
Provided thousands of winter clothing articles, sleeping bags, blankets, air mattresses, coats and other necessities to unhoused neighbors and community members.
Been awarded a $1000 spending allotment from neighboring KeyFoods to share among our 4 North Brooklyn Free Stores. In $100 increments over 10 weeks, we stocked shelves with quality baby food, canned goods, non-perishable pantry staples, laundry detergent, soap, toothpaste, hygiene and other personal care products.
Distributed $2,517 of unused transit credit via 125 MetroCards (gifted to the Free Store by 5 donors).
Received 736 bottles of hand sanitizer from Muse Health, dispensed at Free Stores, events and shared with community schools and leaders.
Built a total of 9 Free Store PopUps while helping foster the creation of 6 others throughout New York state.
Diverted countless numbers of goods, resources and clothing from landfills into loving homes.
Delivered 8,431 fabric face masks in partnership with StreetWorks NYC & KeptSku to rallies, hospitals, shelters and the general Free Store public.
Redirected 1,257 donated books to Books Through Bars, Reach Out & Read, Alabama Books to Prisons, Free Little Libraries in Greenpoint and Bed-Stuy, and the Rolling Library in Queens.
Established a new BIG free library outside Scholes Street Children's Garden.
Planned and staged five free community events, including a free book fair at Greenpoint’s McGolrick Park and an Earth Day trash-pickup scavenger hunt for kids.
Partnered with Freedom Market to stock more BIPOC brands onto our shelves and into the spotlight. #representationmatters
Met and worked with 174 VOLUNTEERS! It really takes a village.
Beyond the numbers, what's most important is we set up a framework to sustain the neighborhood around each location, supporting each other through sharing. Actions that inspire and empower people to BE the change they want to see in the world.
Comprised of donation-based inventory all contributed by the public, for the public. At the Free Store Project there are no patrons, only participants. Whose generosity and care, foster human connection that strengthens their own communities. Grounded in that collective power and our civic duty to care for one another, Free Stores celebrate the essence of what it truly means to be a New Yorker.
To continue this work is an answer to some of society's biggest challenges: apathy, excess, and inequality. And now, over one incredible year later - we need your help.
WHAT IS A FREE STORE?
A Free Store is exactly what it sounds like: a store where EVERYTHING IS FREE! It’s a public space that’s open and accessible 24/7- there's no red tape and no one is turned away. All are welcome, encouraged to take whatever they need and contribute if they can.
WHERE WE ARE
Since its inception in October 2020, The Free Store Project has built a total of 11 Free Stores, helping to foster an additional 6 others in New York state. FSP has active locations at: PS18 (101 Maujer St), another at the intersection of Newton Street & Graham Ave, one in partnership with Ujaama Community Projects at 101st & Columbus Ave, and the newly built @littledamfreestore on the Bushwick/Ridgewood border at 24 St. Nicholas Ave. We've built a Google map to find and support ALL NYC Free Store iterations across the city.
And we're just getting started!
WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES:
We are more than eager to help those who have reached out to us. While awaiting approval of proposals sent to replace both South 2nd & Greenpoint locations, we’ll keep working- bringing Free Stores and their magic to new partners all across the City. We hope you’ll help us today by making a tax-deductible donation to fill the Free Store gap left in North Brooklyn, and that you’re just as excited to grow with us as we bring these beautiful resource hubs to more of our NYC neighbors.
Our mission from the onset was to create as many Free Stores as possible, provide materials and freely share advice or instruction to bring the altruistic Magic of our sharing hubs to underserved locations in NYC. We freely offer this support virtually to areas where we can't offer hands-on assistance. We plan to cut barriers between neighborhoods with our work, and build new relationships. We want to continue to host joyous events and sustain our incredible project with your help. With PopUps, each engagement provides insight into specific communities we enter- we can then field their requests when we return to put down new Free Store roots. Our current Handbook will grow with us, into a comprehensive guide to ALL things Free Store- providing tools, best practices and plans for successful operation across the country & even the globe! Because Free Stores are for EVERYONE!
We strongly believe in the importance and impact of Free Stores in our communities- we've seen the effects! We hope you are just as excited to bring this Project to other underserved areas of New York City.
"We aim to be part of the solution & never perpetuate the problem"
It took a village! THANK YOU to everyone who has helped us!! By transporting materials/tools/supplies for building or site revamping, sourcing expensive and necessary lumber, ramp up safety measures and weather-proof for snowy and rainy conditions and those who helped supply our grocery runs to better stock our Free Stores with food. We couldn't have done this without you!
With this fundraiser we aim to create a more sustainable system to better serve our neighbors. While many are returning to work, there are just as many people still in need. The past year we made incredible things happen on only a wing and a prayer- imagine what we could do with your support!