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Free Store

Sharing—with enough for all


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United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 25 (1):

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself (herself) and of his (her) family, including food, shelter and clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his (her) control."

LIFE*SPIN relieves poverty through hosting a Free Store at 872 Dundas Street. It accepts and distributes donations of new or clean used clothing, household items, toys, sporting equipment, books, tools, etc. The Free Store is operated by volunteers, and is open every Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 

Unfortunately, the need for the LIFE*SPIN Free Store is very high within the London area, and is growing annually.  Government cutbacks, increasing rents and declining incomes have contributed to London's rising poverty rate. London has the highest child-poverty rate in Ontario. With the increasing decline in funding of social service agencies, LIFE*SPIN’s contribution to society becomes increasingly valuable.

LIFE*SPIN is a registered charitable organization that was formed in London, in 1989 for the alleviation of poverty. Drawing from extensive experience providing mediation, housing for homeless women and a food security program, LIFE*SPIN became aware of the urgent need for decent clothing and household articles for clients referred to us by a broad array of social service agencies. 

Volunteering:  If you’re considering re-entry into the workforce, volunteering can help you get experience in your area of interest and meet people in the field. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, task management, and organization. You might feel more comfortable job searching and interviewing once you’ve honed these skills in a volunteer position first.  If you are interested in exploring a volunteer opportunity, please visit the LIFE*SPIN office to complete the volunteer forms and register for training and orientation.

History of Free Stores

The concept of free store first surfaced in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district during the summer of 1967. It was the inspiration of Peter Berg and Emmett Grogan, who both belonged to the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a "guerrilla" theatre group using street theatre as a way of organizing the hippie community. As a put-on and a parody of a capitalist economy based on money, the free store became a part of a spontaneous network of enterprises criticizing private ownership. Together with the provision of free food, free housing and free garages, the clothes supplied by the free store were given away as common property to anyone who needed them. At the same time, anyone who wanted to help out in distributing clothes and organizing the store was welcomed. In other words, for a brief period of time, the slogan "from each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her needs" became a working reality.

At its best, the free store incarnated a spirit of brother and sisterhood which encouraged people to treat one another as whole persons, and which aimed at undoing the competition-for-scarce-goods mentality, introducing instead a sense of sharing-with-enough-for-all.

Free Store

Over the years, the free store idea has expanded to include open space in cities, to be used for growing communal food. Food, like clothing, shelter, education and health care, is a basic necessity of human life. These are human rights. They should be FREE.

Other things that should be free are transportation, childcare, press and access to the media (including the internet), all artistic production and art in general, and passage between countries and across borders. These are not impossible goals, there are working examples in the world today.

No one owns the free store; it belongs to everyone.  People bring clothes, books, household articles and appliances and are free to take whatever they want. No money exchanges hands.   If you do not have anything to drop off, it does not matter.  You simply take what you need.  There is no such thing as stealing from a Free Store.


Free Store

Free Store

 How it works:

People bring clean clothes
Everyone is free to take whatever they need
No money changes hands
If you do not have anything to drop off, it does not matter
There is no such thing as stealing at a Free Store   

There is no judgement at the Free Store
The Free Store has no ‘limited quantities’
Everyone is welcome at the Free Store
Bring what you can
Donations are common property
Donations are available to everyone
Anyone who wants to volunteer is welcome

 Free Store – Large Item Donor Registry

LIFE*SPIN may also facilitate getting donated appliances and furniture to the people who need them.  It is critical that these donations are in working order.  When you call in an item a volunteer will try to connect you with someone on our waiting list in need of this item.  It is up to the parties to arrange pick up/delivery among themselves.

 

LIFE*SPIN – 438-8676

 LIFE*SPIN Volunteers and Staff

 

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Maureen: Free Store Manager

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Debbie: Assistant Manager


 

 

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