Warwick’s Too Good To Toss community recycle event was held in person, on the basketball court at Stanley Deming Park, for the first time in two years. The event provides a central location for people to donate their unwanted items and make useful goods available to others who need or want them.
On Saturday, August 27, residents of the hamlets, villages and town of Warwick donated their gently-used items, including non-upholstered furniture, mirrors, framed artwork, lamps, garden equipment, tools, media and office supplies, sporting goods, bicycles, baby gear, toys, craft materials, art supplies, clothing, linens, books, games, puzzles, housewares and small electronics in good repair, with all working parts. Volunteers helped the public unload donations from their vehicles, examined items to make sure that they were in good condition, then sorted them into categories. Other volunteers arranged donations into shoppable categories on tables protected by tents. As in previous years, the Village and the Town split the cost to rent tents, tables, and chairs.
On Sunday, August 28, everyone, no matter where they live, was invited to shop for free. When organizers Elizabeth Knight and Payton Swenson arrived at the basketball court at about 9:00 a.m., they were met with a line of eager shoppers patiently waiting for the gates to open. Six hundred twenty-five shoppers were admitted (approximately fifty to seventy people at a time, depending upon how many people were already on the court) between 10:00 a.m and 12:45 p.m. After that, the crowd thinned out; the gate-keeper stopped counting and admitted people as they arrived. Volunteers began sorting, boxing, and bagging leftovers at 4:00 p.m., and people continued to drop in and shop until the gates were locked at 6:00 p.m.
Organizers had to scramble when the Salvation Army cancelled, due to a shortage of vehicles and drivers, the scheduled pickup of leftover items. All the clothing, linens and books were taken on Sunday evening by a Warwick resident who said that she would ship them to charities in Haiti, Jamaica, and South Florida. On Monday, August 29, the organizer of Warwick’s St. Stephen the First Martyr Church’s tag sale, and several members of her team, gathered things that they could use for their event. Other donations were packed and delivered, by volunteers, to private residences in to be picked up by the Vietnam Veterans of America. That organization won’t collect donations from a public place.
Volunteers also sorted recyclables - cardboard, paper, glass, metal - into boxes and bags left by the entrance gate for pick up by the Department of Public Works.
Too Good To Toss proved to be a contagious Idea. On Tuesday, August 30, Rosemaire Bastanza, Town Supervisors Confidential Secretary, forwarded an email from Kasie Foulk, Planning and Research Specialist in the City of Jamestown, NY, Department of Development.
Ms. Foulk “...looking at similar sized towns and cities, came across your Too Good To Toss day. Here, we sometimes pay garbage companies to provide a dumpster and have an amnesty day, but I like this idea of one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and a lot of items could just use a second home...” Elizabeth Knight, Too Good To Toss founder, responded to Ms. Foulk’s list of questions about how to plan and organize a similar event.
The event provides a central location for people to donate their unwanted items and make useful goods available to others who need or want them.