News‎ > ‎

The Free Store, Thane - A New Reality

posted Aug 11, 2013, 9:39 AM by Shiv Hastawala

The Free Store, Thane - A New Reality

27 May 2013

7 students. Different backgrounds. One common cause: Sharing.

It is around 4 in the evening. Some of us are setting up tables and chairs, unpacking materials, tying up banners and starting afresh.

We are nervous, anxious but excited.

Our banner reads, ‘We collect unwanted, reusable stuff and give it away to people who need them’.

Some of us take the courageous step of talking to groups of parents, students and customers in the shopping complex.

The curiosity builds up.

Within an hour or so, the curiosity converts into pickups. Children’s books go like hot cakes. Academic textbooks rediscover their shine as happy students choose them. Adults find their joy in unused greeting cards. Stationery items are gifted. Fulfillment is offered.


Stories are created:

1.       A doctor visits our stall and offers free homoeopathic treatment for various common ailments at her clinic in the shopping complex.

2.       A school Principal offers a stockpile of donations sourced from her school’s Lost and Found counter, that comprise of, sweaters, shoes, water bottles, umbrellas, a bucket and lots of love.

3.      An elderly Uncle shares puzzles and sings for our Team. He entertains with his funny capers and skills in palmistry. It seemed that he got back his playful self that wanted to come out since a long time.

4.      2 boys from a nearby slum dwelling happen to visit us out of curiosity. They initially feel reluctant to simply pick up stuff for free, but it’s a beautiful sight when they realize it’s a safe space. They come back with another friend and not only collect board games, toys and stationery items for themselves, but also choose a nice kitchen set for their sisters.


The community comes together to share and make a real difference while our Team earns satisfaction and fulfillment in facilitating the magic.

One of our team members, Sejal, expresses her joy over the event:

"It was lovely being a part of something unique. Helping people get what they want and experiencing the smiles of gratitude. It was a sunny day, but it wasn't the heat but the smiles that made us feel warm. Had a nice experience of meeting and understanding different and new people. Would love to help out again if possible. Thank you for having me even if I am not remotely linked to the stream." 

This is our material impact in three and a half hours:

18 Donors



38 families & 1 children's orphanage


A school Principal

Security Guards



A bunch of happy kids :)



Resources redistributed:

42 Books

28 Academic books

35 pieces of clothing

11 Greeting cards

8 Umbrellas

~25 Water bottles

~5 pairs of shoes

~5 pairs of socks

3 bars of soap

3 CDs

2 Board games

1 Bucket

A few stationery items and

Lots of toys! :)


A simple idea.  A new reality.  


If you’re inspired by this new possibility,

You could join us for our upcoming events at Mumbai and Thane by filling up this quick volunteer form.


You can take the lead in organizing a similar event in your city or locality. We will be more than happy to help you make a difference that makes the difference. Send us a mail at

For more details, visit our Facebook Page.


Thank you to all those who generously offered their time, ideas, encouragement, resources and support! We are grateful to you.


With hope for a new future,

The Free Store, Thane Team