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Swap meet gets used items to people who need them most

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OREM — For one yard-sale host, the purpose of the event is about much more than making a buck from her old stuff. In fact, when the day is done, she won't take home a penny.

Seven years ago, Sarah Bateman held a yard sale with an interesting twist: participants could bring items, take items, or both, and no one had to bring a wallet.

The idea came to Bateman when she was driving through her neighborhood before dropping off items at a thrift store. She says she thought about all the people around her who needed those items and wondered how she could get them to her neighbors, rather than a thrift store that would charge for them.

Now, her annual free yard sale has grown. This year's event took place at the Orem City Center Park, and it was open to the whole community.

"I think it's a fabulous idea," said event volunteer Lisa Hatch. "I think it's a great way to give back to the community, it's a great way to keep landfills clean."

The swap meet helps people get rid of things they don't need, and it helps people find stuff they couldn't get anywhere else.

"We've been in the same situation she is where it's easier to give it away," said participant Scott Muglia. "And we have donated it, but this is where you can actually see where it's going."

There was high demand for the discarded items. Some of them barely made it to the tables before they got snatched up, and other items barely made it out of former owners' cars.

Because of the success she's seen with the event, Bateman hopes that others will take the concept and run with it in their own communities.

"It would benefit so many people," she said.

Bateman used blogging and social media to spread the word, and she hopes the same methods will help other communities get similar events going. She also contacted the Provo Food Bank and United Way to help with the event.


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