By Whitney Donohue
Moapa Valley’s first “Freebay” event was held on Friday and Saturday, August 5-6. Representatives from most of the wards and branches of the LDS Logandale Nevada Stake and St. John’s Catholic Church spent much of the day Friday accepting donations and setting up the Fine Arts Building at the Clark County Fairgrounds for the event.
For the past several weeks, organizers of the event have been encouraging local residents to save their lightly used items, that they might otherwise sell in yard sales or donate elsewhere, and donate them to this event. Hundreds of people brought these items to the Fine Arts Building on Friday. There the items were gathered, sorted and prepared for the Freebay event. During the event, needy community members could come and pick out items that they needed and take them home at no cost.
Vicki Willard, Relief Society Stake President, was amazed at the outpouring of generosity from the community.
“I was worried that we wouldn’t have many donations,” Willard said. “But we ended up with so much that we thought we wouldn’t be able to put it all out!”
On Friday evening around 20 families, specificially identified by their respective clergymen as high need families came to the Fine Arts Building. These families were invited to come before the main event on Saturday to shop through the donated items first.
“This was the icing on the cake for us,” Willard stated. “Being able to help these families made all of our hard work worth it.”
The turnout on Saturday morning surpassed expectations. Before the doors even opened, people already were lining up outside the Fine Arts Building waiting to get in.
“It was amazing how many people were waiting,” said local resident Stacey DuPee, who attended the event. “Everyone was courteous, though, and no one rushed the building when the doors were finally opened.”
Most of the hundreds of people that attended Saturday’s “Freebay” were local residents. Only a few came from out of town, and those that did came with friends or family from the local community.
Willard stated that there were no major problems with the event. “We did get some items of clothing that couldn’t be used, couldn’t even be donated, but for the most part everything was in really good condition,” she said.
The items left after the event were donated. Cappalappa Family Resource Center had first choice of remaining items. Anything they didn’t take was donated to Deseret Industries in Las Vegas.
“We really wanted to make sure that, as much as possible, this could benefit our valley directly,” Willard explained. “Whatever didn’t go home with residents could benefit Cappalappa.”
Willard was unsure if “Freebay” would become an annual event. “If people want us to continue doing it, and we feel there is a need, then, sure, we will probably do it,” she stated. “It has been a lot of work, but it has been totally worth it; seeing the benefits it has brought to our community.”