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ADMIN: Freecycle's Mission, etc.

Dear Freecycle Friends,

Due to a recent post, it seems important to emphasize that FreecycleQuincyMA is a group whose ONLY mission is recycling.

While our recycling efforts do provide a secondary benefit for members in need, we are not a community charity. Yet, every transaction here that helps the reduce-reuse-recycle efforts benefits someone (and, ultimately, everyone!)

Feeling compassion for anyone in need, I find it hard to tell members that they have to revise messages that say things like "I am desperate" or "we have nothing" or to delete any information about personal circumstances or other background information. Additionally, I do not always have the time to explain the guidelines.

The truth is Freecycle groups around the world who had allowed any mention of need or desperation or loss on their lists experienced having a growing number of members sending long, involved "sob stories" to their lists. When we were more lax about this issue, our members started sending Christmas and birthday wish lists to the group. Many complaints followed.

One good thing about Freecycle is the equality among members. Whether wealthy, indigent, or somewhere in between, a member always can protect his or her privacy because no one here ever has to reveal why they are requesting an item.

ALL you need to do is ask. The only information you need to include are things like color or size so other members are clear about what you want. No one has to justify posting a WANTED for an item.

As a recycling-only group, we usually delete or reject any post sent to us that includes information that tugs at the heart strings. It just doesn't belong here, any more than our OFFERs for scrap metal would be appropriate to send to a charitable giving list. Frankly, if folks are utilizing the Internet to access Freecycle, I believe that they can access information related to charitable resources if needed.

For example, if you drop your cell phone in the toilet or your washer or dryer stops functioning, please don't give us those details: just ask for whatever it is you want.

If you seek an item for a fundraiser, a desperate situation, a refugee family, or similar situations, please just ask for the items without giving the details or circumstances. There is an acceptable method to request generic items to be used to support a charity; an example: 'Seeking gently used items that may be cluttering your home. I plan to pass items along.' If members contact you & ask for details, then you may supply the additional info about using items to support a nonprofit, etc. But, please do not post the details to the list.

I hope this makes sense, clears up some misunderstandings, and that all feel welcomed here. Please remember that we are a local community of recyclers.

If you have any questions or comments, please write to us at the moderator's mailbox:

With compassion, respect for every member, and regards, Lois


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