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. So Catalyst is providing a space for all of this called Make Space: Whittier Free Store and Artisan Work Lab.
We are located at 12907 Hadley Street (at Comstock), Whittier, CA 90601 in Uptown Whittier. Check the calendar for store hours and volunteer opportunities. Watch the video below!
Whittier Free Store
Having opened in Summer 2015, the Whittier Free Store - like a consignment shop, but the items are free - accepts donations of unused items in good condition and offer those items to the general public at no cost.
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.
The Whittier Free Store will be open from 1:00pm - 5:00pm on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month (refer to calendar for specific dates). Become a member of the Whittier Free Store; membership is free and only involves a brief orientation to learn how we do things. Since the free store is located upstairs, we apologize that it is not accessible for individuals with certain disabilities. However, if you send email to email@example.com in advance, we may be able to work with you to make other accommodations.
Donations are welcome! You may bring up to 1 or 2 bags or boxes of items - whatever you are able to safely carry by yourself up the stairs in one trip. We accept clothing, household items, cookware, toys, small appliances, and other items that can fit in our small shop. We cannot accept furniture or bulky items at this time (yes, even if you can carry it by yourself in one trip!).
Everyone (with free membership) is welcome to shop the free store at no cost and may choose 2 items. Donating is not required in order to shop. If you bring in a donation, you may choose an extra item to receive. Supporting Members may also choose an additional item and can shop from the Supporting Members section. There is also an Unlimited Items area where everyone can choose to receive without limit.
Join us for our monthly community potluck prior to the opening hours of the Whittier Free Store! The potluck will be on the 1st Sunday of each month (generally) from 12:00pm - 3:00pm in the downstairs courtyard area. Refer to the calendar for specific dates. Bring any dish or food item (if you are able) that you would like to share. Meet the staff and volunteers for Catalyst and the Whittier Free Store. Meet other members of the community. Learn more about volunteer opportunities.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Whittier Free Store Volunteer Staff - requires commitment to show up when scheduled, 12:30pm - 5:30pm shift on the 1st, 2nd, and/OR 3rd Sundays. These positions involve check-in, check-out, inventory processing.
- General Volunteers - flexible schedule, as needed. Sign up for specific tasks: sweeping; bathroom cleaning; trash; courtyard cleaning (sweeping/raking); untangling hangers; designing store displays; ceiling tiles; handyman/woman tasks; sort and identify items from inventory for WFS, overstock donations, or Artisan Work Lab; helping to clean out and organize rooms (Artisan Work Lab and Tool Library rooms); and other tasks.
- Event Volunteers - monthly, as needed. Sign up to help set up/take down tables and chairs, EZ-ups, check in table, organize food/drinks tables, signage, and other things as needed during monthly potluck events or special events.
Note: anyone under the age of 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or responsible adult.
To sign up, send email to email@example.com.
Artisan Work Lab
Currently in Phase 2 of our project, we’ll divert surplus goods collected by the Whittier 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 are interested in volunteering, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check the calendar for volunteer work days!
The Whole Place of Whittier
The Whole Place of Whittier is a community possibility engine championing wholeness and social justice.
The classrooms housing our projects sat empty since 1972 - over 40 years. In 2014, the Board at First Christian Church voted to give responsibility for managing its buildings to a separate secular group, the Wholeness Community, which in turn established The Whole Place of Whittier to support emerging nonprofits with free space for events, co-working, and meetings.
As a member of The Whole Place of Whittier, Catalyst helped to renovate the classrooms in 2015 and is now reactivating them for the benefit of the greater Whittier community through our projects including the Whittier Free Store, Artisan Work Lab, Tool Library, Community Potlucks, and other activities.
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 Catalyst Network of Communities.