VCU’s Free Store eliminates trash, gives students free items


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new store on VCU’s campus is helping out students and the environment.

The VCU Free Store takes unwanted, left behind items and gives them to VCU students, faculty and staff for free.

University officials said the store keeps trash out of landfills and money in students’ pockets.

“If they can put the $50 that they would spend on that mini-fridge to their education, then we’ve fulfilled our goal,” Erin Stanforth, VCU’s director of sustainability said.

Stanforth said she saw the need for the free store when students moved out of dorm rooms last year. She said that students left behind massive amounts of TV’s, mini-fridges, fans, kitchen utensils among other items.

RELATED: PAY IT FORWARD: VCU to open free store

“People were like free store! Free store,” Lesley Turcios-Hernandez, a freshman studying biology at VCU said.

Turcios-Hernandez said the Free Store will help her and her mother save money on back to school shopping.

“She does have two other kids, and I don’t want to have her spend on me when I can resources here at VCU,” Turcios-Hernandez said.

To make sure everyone gets a fair share, the store works like a tier system where each item is ranked by value.

“It’s kind of based on the value of the item, how many of them you can take,” said Stanforth.

“We only allow students to take one microwave or one mini-fridge a semester.”

While the store just opened, plans are already being made for the future.

“The long term goal is to be able to take lots of items from people that are donating. But to almost build up a credit system, Stanforth said. “If someone brought me a television and they wanted two mini-fridges, that might work.”

The store is only available to people with a valid VCU ID to donate or shop.

It will remain open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. this week then reopen on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To donate, contact

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