What a different start to the year it's been!
A friend reminded me this morning that last year at this time us Portlanders were trudging through snow and ice and today I had to take my coat off as I road my bike home from church.
Last January's Exchange had to be rescheduled and when we finally had it only about 20 or so hardcore Friendly Exchangers showed up. This year folks started showing up early and the stream of Friendly Exchangers remained steady the whole time.
But I have to remind the data analyst part of myself that holds down the 9-5, that the Free Clothing Exchange is not a numbers-driven event.
We exist for that one friendly exchanger that didn't have any warm winter clothes until they left the church basement last Sunday, for the young woman who needed something to wear to her upcoming job interview, for the man who needed a coat and some new socks, and of course for whoever scored that T-shirt with Freddy Mercury's face on it and the words "Too Rad".
If only one of those people showed up and emerged from the Kenton Church's basement sporting a smile and some new threads, then, in our books, we just had a successful exchange.
That said, the first Exchange of 2018 was fantastic for so many of those reasons. It was wonderful to see so many of your now familiar faces and make at least a few dozen new friends as well.
In addition to the 50+ Friendly Exchangers who celebrated the New Year AND FCE's 5th birthday with us, we were able to provide 114 new pairs of socks to more than 30 different exchangers.
The next Free Clothing Exchange is scheduled for Sunday, April 8th, 2018.
We're already planning ways to make sure it's great. If you have any ideas or would like to help out don't hesitate to reach out.
On that note, I'll leave you with some of the feedback we heard from some of you amazing people who participated in the most recent exchange. See you in the Spring!