Give & take: Everything at the LAfreestore is free — and for good reason.


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At LAfreestore, a one-day shopping event planned for Nov. 13, everything from sweaters to sacks of potatoes is free — but if you’re taking, you’re also encouraged to give a little something back.

The daylong ‘store’ at the Casa Princesa Cafe (4527 York Blvd., Los Angeles) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. was conceptualized by Krisha Hernandez Pruhs, a Cal Poly Pomona student who has taken classes in the college’s sustainability studies program.


According to Hernandez Pruhs, the store initiates a ‘rotation of goods and services, food, skills, thoughts, handshakes, hugs and smiles while promoting sustainability.’

We’re not sure about the hugging and smiling (though we support both), but essentially you ‘shop’ the store for things you need, while leaving items — anything you deem unnecessary in your life, from clothes and gadgets to food and home wares — for others to pick up. It’s in bricks-and-mortar form.

‘We give to those who may simply need a new sweater or jacket because they’re cold, or share our bountiful vegetables from our garden because it’s a nice thing to do,’ said Hernandez Pruhs, who considers the project a way to evoke social sustainability and promote environmental ideas through ‘reuse.’

The one-day store was inspired by The San Francisco Diggers, a street theater and activist group in the 1960s who opened a free store in New York to provide a change of clothes for Vietnam veterans.

‘We all have so much stuff,’ said Hernandez Pruhs. ‘What could we all possibly do with it all? And why do we always give our time and hard-earned money to purchase new items from the very corporations who purposely build low-quality [goods] only to make us purchase them over and over and over?’

A pressing question indeed.

--Emili Vesilind