The Free Store is a vibrant volunteer organisation which redistributes surplus food items that would otherwise have been thrown out, and gives them to those in need. Their customers come from all backgrounds – from those rendered homeless to refugee families – but they all benefit from the store and its wonderful volunteers.
Back in July 2012, the Free Store found itself without a base to operate from, so it turned to PledgeMe and its awesome crowd. They easily surpassed their $5.5K goal – and then, something pretty extraordinary happened. After the initial success with PledgeMe, the whole community turned out to make the Free Store happen. SpaceWise donated a shipping container for the store, and Designgroup Stapleton Elliot and Practical Building Solutions provided their services for free. The cost of a resource consent was refunded by the Wellington City Council, and everything from flooring to welding was donated during the building process. Thus, with just the money from their small PledgeMe raise, the Free Store were able to convert the shipping container into a beautiful purpose-built store, a project that would normally have exceeded $65K.
And the success story doesn’t end there. In their first year, the Free Store redistributed around 63,000 items of food from surrounding cafes, feeding an average of 60 people a night. With over 550 vivacious volunteers and connections forming with other non-profits, the organisation continues to grow to this day. And as founder Benjamin put it, “all of this has been made possible by a spark of financial support made possible by PledgeMe!”
We’re so stoked we could be a part of the Free Store’s amazing story, and help in the awesome work they continue to do for the Wellington community. To find out more about the organisation, visit their facebook page or take a look at their website.