Knox College students donate and take items free of charge

From the Register-Mail:
While Galesburg residents have long enjoyed the benefits of area thrift shops such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill or the Purple Hanger, Knox College students are increasingly frequenting their own secondhand resource, The Free Store.

Created a few years ago through Knox Advocates for Recycling and Environmental Sustainability, the all-volunteer, student-run Free Store serves as a place where students can leave items for other students to take for free.

KARES President Michelle Gerber said that while The Free Store has the “bonus benefit” of saving students money on items they would otherwise buy new, the store’s true focus is on lessening students’ environmental impact.

“It was founded to address the issue of waste and in an effort to reuse so many of the materials that college students go through constantly,” said Gerber, noting the store is most actively utilized at the beginning and end of terms. “So instead of throwing out all their stuff or going out to Walmart to buy new things, students come to The Free Store.”

Gerber, a senior creative writing major from Massachusetts, said students also use the store for seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations or Halloween costumes.

“It also encourages the creative reuse of things, so just because something is broken, doesn’t mean it can’t be turned into something different,” said Gerber. “Someone might bring in a cord they have no use for, and then someone else might bring in a lamp that’s missing a cord, and with a little bit of effort, you can make something completely work again.”