FERGUS – Five Fergus residents have developed a long-standing exchange area known as the giving spot, where community members donate what they can spare, and freely take what’s needed.
Donated items are dropped off at 301 unit B Edinburgh Ave. in Fergus, and sorted and brought to the Bethel Baptist Church field. The giving spot will remain open until Nov. 1.
This was started when neighbors around Edinburgh Avenue noticed boxes of clothing being placed by a dumpster, likely intended for people to take. When the garbage was collected these perfectly good items were being incorporated and thrown away.
“Why was that going in the trash?” wondered Alissa Pott, co-founder of the giving spot recalled, followed by the question “why don’t we do something about it?”
In September of 2020 a garage sale was held every Saturday to help with this problem, but when COVID-19 restrictions no longer accommodated this, things were switched up.
The giving spot was opened, where people could come and go, taking what they needed for free any time of day.
Because of these efforts, Pott noted she has seen a decrease in good items being left for garbage pickup in the area.
This more permanent station was moved onto the Bethel Baptist Church field.
There is now a tent open at the back of the field, with clothing hung from both soccer posts and on racks.
Church member Jan Valeriote said the effort is all done by the giving spot group.
“We’ve just kind of walked alongside,” said Valeriote on the church’s involvement.
“It’s just a wonderful thing.”
Since March, the giving spot has been running with much community support.
“I just want to thank the community,” said Pott.
She added that donations of shelves, tents and other organizers have been integral in developing this permanent donation area.
There has also been a “huge turnover” of donated items and new stock, she said.
The giving spot has expanded beyond just donated items.
On Monday evenings Pott receives a delivery of bread and leaves the food under the tent at the giving spot for those interested.
Vegetable plants have been obtained as well, and soon produce will be put out for the taking.
All items are free to pick up at any time, and everything is accepted except large furniture.
The same group has also started project warmth, where people can come pick up winter coats and snow pants from the giving spot area.
While the giving spot is only open until November, project warmth will stay up all winter, with clothing items wrapped in plastic to keep clean and dry.
Starting September there will be hats, scarves and mittens available as well.
“Nobody has to go through the winter months cold,” is the project mantra, according to Pott.
These projects have been fueled by the question “how can we help people in need?” Pott explained.
She added that if you have the ability to help someone else in any way and make their life less stressful, “by all means” you should go for it.