I became aware of Freecycle, while reading an assigned book, ‘Give and Take’ by Adam Grant for my first core class on Organizational behavior for Masters in Business Administration at University of Nevada, Reno in Fall of 2015. Adam Grant in his book talks about three types of personalities- matcher, taker and giver. Out of curiosity to learn more about this online community, I became its member, and started getting newsletter’s on nothing-trash community model. The overwhelming growth speaks volumes of The Freecycle Network (TFN) set up in May of 2003 in Tuscan Arizona, passed the nine-million membership and is spreading across world through over 5000 groups. The formal mission of nonprofit movement is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from strength of a larger community.
My recent and first experience with Freecycle community in Reno reflects the core values of people who joined this giving community with no strings attached. I needed some ‘old magazines on health, body mind wellness or lifestyle’, hence I posted my request on the community page. An email drops in to my inbox one from Colleen Santor and another from Carlos Ortiz offering help from my neighborhood chapter. Colleen, a retired Deputy Sherriff lives in Golden Valley willing to give her ninety’s world magazines and Carlos offering his unopened sets of books bought twelve-years ago to a totally unknown person (me). Both were prepared to give-off their real treasure they had retained for years, to someone they considered could be a right fit.
We exchanged emails, texted and telephoned to meet-up personally. The preplanned moment comes to rehome their cornucopia of lifetimes. Carlos who is living 35 miles in Palomino Valley expressed, ‘he was never able to help anyone before on Freecycle. I am glad I could help you’. He added further, ‘when you read them, please let me know how they were’. As a grateful recipient, I felt a strong bond of cohesiveness and connectivity. Building new connections with strangers is indeed a joyful experience. A jubilant Colleen shared her recent incident of Freecycle give-off, an old projection TV. This Freecycle innovator will use the lens and screen of TV uniquely to magnify and heat water up to 3000 degrees to kill any harmful microorganisms in his water filtration system. Affirmations, in Adam’s book started echoing with me, ‘One person’s trash can be another person’s treasure’.
Pondering on What drives people to share on Deron Beal’s Freecycle? Numerous Studies are carried out to understand this human instinct of benevolence to someone completely anonymous. I feel the intension of this altruist approach is not only to extend the lifespan of items they consider usable and to prevent environment from further degradation, but to foster trust in strangers and reinforce our social connections by discovering more about each other. Its proven that, fine intentions of giving reflects in our biology.
Share your thoughts! If you had any related experience towards building new connections and creating vibrant healthy communities.