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Charitable stall on Acacia Street overflows with produce and goodwill
A Murray Bridge couple have set up a produce-swap table to help people who have fallen on hard times or just want to share.
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Potatoes, onions, carrots, cup-a-soup, mayonnaise, pasta sauce, egg cartons – these are just some of the goodies you might find at Kayla and Aaron Reynolds’ produce swap table in Murray Bridge.
The table at 13 Acacia Street runs off the honour system: all the produce is donated or exchanged, and if you have something in excess at home, you can come and swap it for something you need.
Kayla Reynolds – who has been running the stall out the front of her house with husband Aaron – said the idea came to them when lettuce prices began to skyrocket.
“Lettuce prices were going through the roof, meanwhile I had 12 lettuces that were fully grown and ready to eat in my garden,” Ms Reynolds said.
“We’ve also got 10 chickens that lay about four dozen eggs a week, and we’re definitely not going to eat that many ourselves, so we decided to put out a dozen eggs most days too.”
Foster carers by day, the couple felt that the stall would be a great way to give back to the community during a time of need.
“Because of things like COVID-19, the rising cost of living, and the recession people are now predicting, I think we’re going to have some really hard times ahead,” Ms Reynolds said.
“It’s about community awareness … if we can help people who need it, then why not?”
Doing something was better than doing nothing, Mr Reynolds said.
Since the stall’s humble beginnings in late June, it has really taken off, and the couple said that seeing the community’s good will first-hand had been reassuring.
“We have had lots of people donate bags of fruit, because that’s the thing about having a garden at home: everything comes into season all at once and then you don’t know what to do with it all,” Mr Reynolds said.
“There has also been no vandalism on the stall … I think people understand that its there to help the community, not make a profit, so they’ve left it alone.”
Ms Reynolds said even when people had had nothing to contribute, they had at least been honest about it.
“I’ve had people knock on my door and say they needed something but weren’t able to give anything in return, because they’re getting paid tomorrow and had nothing in the house to feed their families,” she said.
“Honestly, I don’t mind if people take from here, or steal, because I’d rather they take it from here than a store.
“At the end of the day, we’re all people and we all have to eat.”
Another plus was that the stall was self-sustaining, and therefore completely eco-friendly.
“Whatever becomes spoilt or does not get picked up, we feed to our chickens, and then the eggs come back out onto the table,” Ms Reynolds said.
“It is a no-waste system.”
No doubt the stall has had some interesting items on offer.
“One time we found a giant bladder of say sauce sitting on the ground, but somebody took it,” Ms Reynolds said.
“There have been all sorts of things, like curry, Coco Pops … we have had around two dozen cans of condensed milk.
“I am always so excited to see what is at the stall whenever I drive home.”
The couple said the stall’s possibilities were endless, and they were already brainstorming ways to tap into its potential.
“People asked if they could bring jars to the stall so others could make jam from all the fresh fruit, so now we always have a heap of jars available,” Ms Reynolds said.
“We also have started potting seedlings so people can grow their own veggies at home and then bring more produce to the stall.”
To this idea, Mr Reynolds said, they had been thinking about grouping packs of seedlings so people could start their own veggie patches.
More information: Search for “Produce swap table Murray Bridge” on Facebook.
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