A local Facebook group dedicated to helping people swap items for free is inspiring kindness among strangers.
Mary Enright created C-U Swap about a year ago. Frustrated by the amount of items society consumes on a daily basis, Enright decided to take action one day.
“I had a brainstorm of an idea to swap some of my old junk for other people’s old junk, and thereby keep two pieces of junk from prematurely entering a landfill,” Enright said.
While the original mission of the C-U Swap page was to help others by “giving items that are taking up space or no longer useful in one home new life in another”, another unexpected benefit occurred- connecting people in the community who make a positive difference in the lives of one another, including strangers.
Friends and C-U Swap group members Jen Province and Mindy Manolakes knew all too well about the struggles of being homebound due to an injury. Both women had recently experienced injuries that left them stuck at home and on crutches.
When the two friends saw another woman post on C-U Swap in search of art supplies to keep her busy while she was at home recuperating from an injury, Province and Manolakes sprang into action.
“It really resonated with us because the two of us had been hobbling around all summer,” Manolakes said.
So the two got busy collecting coloring books, sketch pads, markers, colored pencils, etc. and delivered them to the woman’s apartment.
Manolakes said the opportunity to give back to a total stranger felt kismet. “It made me feel so good to help someone,” she said. “It was a fun little thing for us to do because we both had been bedridden.”
Enright says she has also witnessed many other acts of kindness throughout the group- members helping to provide school supplies and clothing for people in life transitions and helping relocate furniture that was too difficult for homeowners to move themselves.
“I’m really proud of the caliber of people in our group. I’ve been in some other groups where it felt a lot more ‘every person for themselves’ but I really feel like the vibe of C-U Swap is to help one another,” she said.
“Even if someone doesn’t have an item, they will often mention where they’ve seen one lately, or members will tag one another on posts that they think may fit certain requests. It’s really a cool, beautiful thing to see,” she added.
To learn more about C-U Swap on Facebook or to join the group, go here.