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As we all know, recent stay-safe orders have shut down all businesses except financial institutions, critical trades, and specific professional services. Amid the panic, it seems toilet paper, beef, butter, milk, dried goods, and so much more have all vanished from our grocery stores. So it is no wonder that, with our city on lockdown, some Austines are turning to their neighbors to help find essential items for free or for trade.
They have even adopted a familiar-sounding name, at least to Free Fun in Austin fans. We’re talking about Free Stuff in Austin, which has become one of the fastest-growing Facebook groups in town since the crisis began. And they’re not your typical Facebook swap group, either.
Those familiar with the usual buy-and-sell groups on Facebook will find that most forbid people from asking for items they are searching for that they wish to purchase. They call these “ISO” items, which means “In Search Of,” but asking for essential items to be donated to a private party for free is usually prohibited in these groups.
In other words, don’t bother. We’ve got something better. It’s called Free Stuff In Austin. The group’s main rule is simple: “It’s okay to ask for ‘stuff,’ but remember that givers gain. Keep an eye out for people’s requests.”
As Fred Rogers once said, “look for the helpers” in times of crisis. This is your opportunity to be just that for someone in your city, and not just another consumer.
As you shelter in place today, look around your home. What do you see that you can live without that one of your neighbors in Austin may need? What’s an item you really need right now? More importantly, do you need a roll of toilet paper?
Free Stuff in Austin is the place to be for all of the above. Join up and create a post today!
Just remember to sanitize your surfaces and keep those hands washed after dealing with goods from unknown individuals. We don’t have to go without here in Austin if everybody pulls together.