Whittier Free Store Background

Everyone has stuff that they don’t use – and many of us have too much stuff. Rather than letting those unused items take up space in our homes, sit in storage, or make their way into the waste stream, a Free Store offers the alternative to pass them on to others who could make good use of them. The Whittier Time Bank is gearing up to build Make Space: Free Store and Artisan Work Lab.

Slated to open in Summer 2015, the Whittier Free Store - like a consignment shop, but the items are free - will accept donations of unused items in good condition and offer those items to the general public.

So why build a Free Store?

Sharing helps people save money. The Whittier Free Store will also help people build connections with neighbors and the community by sharing their stuff.

Sharing is good for the environment, reducing our carbon footprint through reuse and recycling. Reducing the waste stream also helps save local funds spent on waste management.


Artisan Work Lab

In Phase 2 of our project (2016), we’ll divert surplus goods collected by the Free Store into the Artisan Work Lab (AWL), a small business incubator, artisan/artist tool library, and co-work studio. Paid AWL memberships will provide artisans with access to studio space, equipment, and business support which they otherwise might not be able to afford on an individual basis. Mid-career artists will provide mentorship and teach workshops. Support waste stream diversion: Imagine new fashion found in old clothes, found objects turned into sculpture, printmaking on any surface, and housewares transformed into valuable works of functional art. Membership dues will create financial sustainability for the Make Space project by paying for staff, tool maintenance, and other project costs.

If you have ideas and want to participate in making them a reality with this project, attend a meeting of the Planning Committee, Mondays at 6pm (fill out contact form for details).

We are not yet accepting shop steward applications. To ensure you're notified when we begin accepting applications, note your interest on the contact form.


The Whole Place at First Christian Church

The classrooms housing our project have sat empty since 1972 - over 40 years. As a member of The Whole Place at First Christian Church, we're reactivating them for the benefit of the greater Whittier community.

The Whole Place at First Christian Church is a community possibility engine championing wholeness and social justice.

In 2014, the board at First Christian Church voted to pass responsibility for its extensive buildings to a separate nonprofit, the Wholeness Community, which in turn established The Whole Place to support emerging nonprofits with free space for events, co-working, and meetings.

Organizational members of the Wholeness Community board include Whittier's First Day, Intercommunity Counseling Center, Whittier Area Literacy Council, CAPC Inc., twelve-step groups, alternative healing and education practitioners, and Make Space: Free Store & Artisan Work Lab, of Catalyst Network of Communities and the Whittier Time Bank.