CALIFORNIA CITY - Anyone depressed about the holidays or concerned about the future of California City might come away with a more positive perspective after spending time with Cassee Bone.
Bone, Manager at Cal City Fitness for the past two years, came up with a unique idea six months ago. Inspired by yard sale signs that proliferate during the summer months, Bone said she thought, “Why not create a central place where people can donate their unwanted stuff that could benefit someone else?” She named her project, Simply Giving.
The unique part of her idea was that no buying or selling would be involved. All the items would be for free. She put guidelines in place to preserve the integrity of the system and ensure that all members are treated with respect by others.
Anyone caught violating standards of courtesy or honesty are prevented from continuing their involvement. Co-administrator, Ruth Horton Cliett, who created their Facebook page and opened up the group, regularly monitors the site and interacts online with participants.
There is no cost to join, but new members are asked to identify themselves and abide by the guidelines. Participants are welcome to post as many items as they are willing to give away.
Don’t think the no-longer-needed items are synonymous with junk either, said Bone. During an interview she scrolled down posted photos of current donations. They included gently-used clothing and shoes, knick knacks, TV’s and electronics, Christmas decorations, jewelry, toys—even a beautiful TV armoire.
Bone said she has been most impressed with the generosity and caring of the residents. Simply Giving has evolved into more than a venue for free merchandise. “It’s becoming a community bulletin board too,” she said, explaining that when a resident’s home was recently broken into, a request for help went out online and donations started pouring in for the family.
A native of California City, Bone acknowledged the city’s challenges, but has unbounded enthusiasm for its residents and its future. “I love this community,” she emphasized. “I see so much hope here and people who genuinely care about their neighbors. In this tough economic climate, people are starting to look out more for others.”
Her excitement about the project is so infectious that Simply Giving already has 376 members, with new members signing up daily. The numbers are all the more remarkable considering that most people got involved through word of mouth.
“We’re ready to grow and serve more people. We’re ready for the larger community to know that we exist,” stated Bone.
According to guidelines, there are no income requirements and anyone is welcome to ask, receive, or donate items. To sign up, search: Cal City Simply Giving and click on the request to join.