Organizer Denise Echterling said the new location has better parking, no stairs, easy access and more space.
“We had over 1,000 people attend last year and I’m expecting a whole lot more this year,” she said. “We may hit 1,500 and we want people from Missoula to Sula to come and realize how generous our people are. We’ve always wanted to do this in the Interstate Building and thanks to the RAPP Family Foundation it is possible this year.”
Echterling is a member of The Place Church that has organized this event for seven years. Donations items can be delivered to the Interstate building from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12.
“We are very, very grateful for people to come in and donate,” Echterling said. “We do tax receipts and take gently used items — furniture, clothing, household items, diapers, toys, cleaning supplies so that we can give it away to the community. We have the most incredible community, I’m amazed at how generous our people are.”
Donating on Thursday allows the volunteers to take in the donated items then sort them and organize them on Friday for the event Saturday.
“If someone can’t donate on Thursday, I’m not going to turn them away,” Echterling said. “We also need volunteers to help with intake as well as working the day of The Giveaway.”
She said they are relying on some of the same volunteers like the Corvallis school children who came last year.
“They brought two busloads of kids last year and they were a big help,” Echterling said. “But more are always welcome. Our dates are different this year, we usually do it the first weekend in December but had to change to the second week in December.”
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To volunteer call Echterling at 251-422-2219.
New and gently used clothing items are prepared, folded or hung.
“We try to make it look like a department store,” Echterling said. “We want people to be able to find what they need. We try to do it according to size, even styles — baby clothes and coats are in their own areas. We try to make it so families can shop together.”
Everything is free.
“We don’t charge anything for anything,” Echterling said. “If local businesses want to donate that’s always welcome. We have businesses willing. I so appreciate it and can’t say thank you enough to people and businesses. My Kids Closet donated after their event too.”
The event has grown from its beginning in the Bedford building seven years ago.
“People know what this can do for their families,” Echterling said.
Shop for free during The Giveaway from 9 a.m. to noon on Dec. 14 in the Interstate Building at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds in Hamilton.