Grassroot Givers is a non-profit organization in Albany that has taken the idea of adaptive-reuse to the next level.
I stopped by Grassroot Givers’ location at 274 Washington Ave (remember that YMCA?) after seeing a post on reddit about the organization, their mission, and of course, the pools.
The amount of items they have is staggering. There’s two huge swimming pools; one open to the public, the other filled with donations to be cycled into the Book Project and the Community Store. The Community Store, which contains their housewares and clothing, is currently in the process of moving from the former men’s locker room to the larger pool, alongside the Book Project. Everything is donated to Grassroot Givers, and everything from them is given to those who need it. Teachers often donate books they no longer need, and are welcome to browse and take any books that would be useful in their classrooms. Books from their massive inventory are also placed into ten Little Free Libraries around Albany. Grassroot Givers also partners with shelters and other organizations that can help those in need to receive clothes for themselves and their families, or items for their homes, or both. All free.
If you’re looking to get involved, Grassroot Givers is hosting A Day of Simple Giving on November 5 from 10am to 1pm at St Sophia’s on Whitehall Road. During this event, you can sign up to volunteer alongside other community members to create useful items for local homeless shelters, create and assemble gift bags, make cookies for community dinners, and more. You may also volunteer to supervise one of these “Donation Stations.”