Lazy Saturday turned into an even lazier Sunday. In order to feel like I didn’t waste the whole afternoon, I dragged my fresh faced, tracksuit clad-self away from tea drinking and social networking, and visited my friend Morgane… where we continued the tea drinking and social networking! Morgane lives in a regular house on a regular street in a lovely leafy residential area in Utrecht. However, right beside her house on this normal street is an unusual sight.
Outside one of the many redbrick residences, there is a wooden stall with the most unexpected items stacked, draped and hanging from it. Boardgames, notebooks, handbags, scarves, books, goggles, jars of food, even bras and underwear! On closer inspection, I noticed a handwritten sign suspended (by a clothes hanger) from the roof of the stall.
As I’m not fluent in Dutch (YET!), I consulted my trusted friend Google translate. This is what he came up with..
‘GIVE: The basis of all share what you have with others
TAKE: The consequence of that is by giving it back from all the above. It is important to take otherwise give effect unit.
DO: it makes you happy’
The essence of this note is that if you walk past the stall, you are more than welcome to give an unwanted but useful item if you have one to give, or take an item free of charge if it is something you need. There is no need to give something if you take something, but there is a bright green spaar-pot, or savings pot, if you wish to donate any spare change to a good cause. The Give & Take Sharing concept started in Chester and it is one so simple and heartwarming that could benefit so many people in need.
As I was leaving, a little boy and his mother cycled up to the stall. The little boy reached into his basket and took out a blue toy car and a small teddy bear. He placed the car on top the savings box and the teddy bear next it. With a huge grin on his face, he waved goodbye to his toys, jumped on his bike and cycled off. I was genuinely touched by this small act of kindness. We all have things that we don’t use anymore. Once loved clothes that have lost their fashion appeal. Books we read once but don’t look at again. Toys that we used to cherish but have now grown out of. This was the first Give & Take Stall I have come across and I love the idea behind it. Give what you don’t need now, so you can take what you need when you do!
Before I leave the Netherlands in December, I will definitely be revisiting this stall to give a few items of my own. Do you have a Give and Take Stall in your area?