A couple weeks ago I ran into somebody whom I had worked with in the 90’s, and after we got caught up a bit he asked about Free Geek. I gave him the short version of why we exist, how we do things, and what goes on at the site. He asked about volunteering but since he lives in St Cloud (an hour or so northwest of our site) his opportunities to get down to volunteer are limited.
So we talked about other things that Free Geek needs Volunteers to do, and here are a couple that came up.
First was to organize a neighborhood E-waste drive, collect the Electronics, and bring them down, he thought his daughter may like to help with that and I pointed him at the donations page to help them set up a flyer. I made sure to let them know that disposal of Tube Type CRT’s have a cost, and that we generally ask for a cash donation to cover that cost. We also talked about how they should get a feel for the why we are trying to do this, on a simple level everybody understands that recycling is good. But most do not understand that the mercury from a CRT can pollute a significant amount of ground water and be traced back to food grown in that soil. So that lead to the second thing that he could do remotely.
Free Geek always needs ambassadors to help us get the word out about what we do, how and why. We have some basic hand outs that explain this, but most of our new donations can be traced back to somebody else who has donated to us before. Just letting people know that an alternative to throwing E-waste away can make a big impact.
While both of these items can become long term opportunities to help, they also could be done with very little effort to. Free Geek would not exist without the volunteers who do everything within the organization, they (we) are what keeps the process moving and allows us to do what we know makes a difference.
We are making progress on the new space! While things are not yet fully set up, we have each area basically in place to do what it does. This means that the build room is capable of builds, but it still needs work.
We also have expanded our Thrift Store Hours to be Wednesday through Saturday Noon to 5pm and Sundays 2pm to 7pm. The addition of Thursday and Friday for the Thrift Store is just for the store and Donations, but the Recycle, Intake and Build rooms are closed. (until we can find volunteers to commit to supervision of those areas on a consistent basis.)
We also have Internet Access up, and are working on getting a new Volunteer Time logging tool put on place.
Welcome to our redesigned site, just in time for our new Location. Big Changes, but still the same plan. Recycle, Educate, Re-Use, and support Open Source software.
We will be moving for the next few open days, and some in between, so there will be no Break-down, Testing or Build until mid May, the Store is being moved, and that may be limited to what we can locate in the boxes.
Kitty, one of our regular volunteers, lives in Edina. As part of the Edina Day of Service, she organized a “Donate your old computer to Free Geek Twin Cities” dropoff in the parking lot of Jerry’s Foodssupermarket. The weather was perfect, but we had no idea if anyone would show up. Well, the good folks of Edina really came through for us. We received over 50 desktop machines, more than 20 laptops, and about 20 flatscreens. We filled two minivans and an SUV with all the donations. A hearty thanks to Kitty and the people of Edina.
Ka Joog will use the computers in their youth community center which they’ve built as place for high school and college kids to hang out, providing a safe, positive atmosphere.
Meanwhile, our recycle, test, and build operations are in full swing.
Volunteers break computers down to their base materials to be recycled. In the background, computers and components are evaluated in the Test room.
In fact, we’ve gotten to be such a well-oiled-machine in our ability to receive, dismantle, test, and rebuild computers that we are actually running a bit low on fodder for our pipeline. So, we need YOU to dig that old computer out of the closet and bring it to Free Geek where we’ll put it to good use teaching people about computers and helping groups like Ka Joog build a stronger community.
Now that we have a space of our own, we have expanded our hours: Edit (I made an edit in June, 2012 to add two more days, Thur & Fri we are open for store purchases and donation drop-offs). Oohh! We moved again too so the address in this archival photo is wrong) – Art
Wednesday, Noon – 5pm
Thursday, Noon – 5pm
Friday, Noon – 5pm
Saturday, Noon – 5pm
Sunday, Noon – 5pm
Closed Monday & Tuesday
We’re still unpacking a bit and deciding where things should go. But our teardown and recyling have resumed, and we’ll soon be ready to start up our build program again. So, if Saturdays haven’t worked for you in the past, you can now come join us on a couple of other days, and help the needy get nerdy. See you there.
A couple months ago, we concluded that we were outgrowing our space at PPNA and that we would have to move. Then, PPNA told us they were selling the building and that we had to be out in three weeks. With help from Seward Redesign we found a new space at 2310 Snelling Ave. South in Minneapolis, sometimes known as Seward Commons. May 14 was our moving day.
The new building is between Hiawatha and Minnehaha Avenues, right next to the bike trail on Hiawatha, and just three blocks south of the Franklin Ave. light rail stop.
Our new space has over 2000 square feet, about 25% more than we had at PPNA, and we’re very excited about that. While we did like the fact that multiple groups shared the space with us at PPNA, it did impose limits such as how many days we could be open. We’ll have the new space largely to ourselves. There are some other community groups storing stuff in the space currently, but they’ll be moving to the garage/warehouse out back in the next few weeks. We hope to expand our hours in the coming months.
It will take us a few weeks to get everything arranged in our new home. We had some donated shelving arrive while we were moving; it turned out to be too tall for the new space, so we’ll have to shorten it a bit.
After everything was moved in, we visited our next-door-neighbors at Sisters Camelot. Turns out they are big Ubuntu fans just like we are. We think we’ll get along terrifically.
The new space offers us great opportunities, but it can’t be our long-term permanent home. Seward Redesign plans to eventually raze the whole building and redevelop the space. However, our lease says that won’t happen for at least six months, and it’s possible that it may not happen for a year or two. That suits us just fine. Free Geek Twin Cities is a hive of bustling activity; we’re always busy doing many things, constantly growing. The number of new volunteers showing up each week continues to increase. The space at PPNA lasted us about a year before we outgrew it. It’s likely we’ll outgrow Seward Commons in a year as well. It’s a good problem to have.
So, come see our new digs. Come donate your old computer. Come learn about computers. Come help us teach people about computers. Come help us recycle responsibly. Come make a difference in the community.