The Giving Shed offers free items to everyone

Monday, April 10, 2023

Kristi Riggin created the Giving Shed
The Giving Shed
Story and photos by Mary Jo Heller

On Evanston Ave in the Westminster Triangle, about a block from 145th, there is a rather large shed that offers free items: food, clothing, toys, even car seats. 

It is “The Giving Shed,” or as Kristi Riggin calls it, “The Whatever Shed.” Kristi began the space after seeing the Little Free Libraries, and the Buy Nothing pages on Facebook. 

She wondered why we couldn’t just have a “free anything” spot: “We all throw so much away.”

Thus began the “Little Free Shed.” Kristi originally wanted it to be a shelf or a small cabinet. Then she received a shed as a birthday gift. This was pre-pandemic by a bit. 

The shed originally had gardening tools. It quickly outgrew its “home.” The new, larger, shed holds food, canned and fresh, toys, clothing, and tools. She even has car seats. 

She hopes for a ramp to make the
Shed accessible to all
In the next “upgrade,” she would like to install a ramp, so it is accessible to everyone.

Sometimes people donate “pieces of something.” These mystery items could be cards to a game, a pinwheel missing its stem, a single sock. These items need to be thrown away. 

Mostly though, she receives surprises of fresh or canned food, baby and children’s clothes, and games or books.

Kristi also shares with other free pantries around, like North City Little Free Pantry "share with your neighbor" that is anything but “little.” 

If she receives too many potatoes, for example, she takes them to North City. North City, in turn, will bring quantities to the Giving Shed. Kristi takes food to Black Coffee and some churches, as well, when she is overstocked. 

There are “Gleaning Groups” that regularly glean fresh or soon-to-be-expired food from stores and drop off items.

The Facebook page for The Westminster Triangle Giving Shed began as the shed began, as a way to share with friends and community. That too has grown, and is still a way to leave messages and pass along great tips and ideas.

The Shed has food and clothing
Kristi now also has business cards that she leaves at the libraries
. She even put one on the window of her car, noting that there was free food available in the Westminster Triangle. 

Because she left canned food donations and snacks for her toddler, the car was regularly broken into, with only food taken. She has noticed that that doesn’t happen as much anymore.

This is a great boon to the community, but Kristi is often frustrated too. The shed is sometimes left in a mess; or the food expires too quickly and smells. If she can’t manage to clean it, she hangs a sign that says “We are short of staff and will be back soon.” 

Once she even had to ask someone to leave who was using the shed as a shelter. She has surprise help too- sometimes she will find that the shed has been cleaned, or tidied up and restocked.

Canned goods
She says often that this is a true community project.
Neighbors help and donate; people respond through Facebook requests. There is so much going on behind the scenes that warms her heart and renews her faith in her community.

Want to become a donor? Kristi says her most needed supplies are “ready to eat” foods. Menstrual products are needed, and often not considered in donations. 

What NOT to donate? Please do not bring broken toys or expired food. Donations of time are incredibly valuable. Kristi doesn’t even know who some of her helpers are. Some days, it is just straightened and cleaned for her.

What keeps her going? “Just knowing we have so many who need help.”

Shoes and boots
Kristi wants people to know that they don’t need to be “down on their luck” to use the shed. 

“We all benefit from reusing items and reducing waste. And it doesn’t need to be a one-to-one exchange. If someone can use a bunch of items, just take them! 
"Maybe they donate, or maybe they tidy up, or share a post- or save me a trip to Goodwill. It all evens out in the end.”

The Westminster Triangle Giving Shed is open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, 9-7 generally. If there is perishable food, it is open longer or more often. It is not open after dark.

It is located at 14544 Evanston Ave N, Shoreline WA 98133


Anonymous,  April 12, 2023 at 10:27 PM  

It warms my heart to hear of such selfless giving. Kristi is a gem in our community.

Charlene,  April 14, 2023 at 10:57 PM  

I am So Proud of my daughter & her shed!!!

Anonymous,  April 14, 2023 at 11:43 PM  

Not too far from me. I have some clothes I can drop off.

Anonymous,  April 15, 2023 at 9:34 AM  

What a giving person Kristy is!!!!!

Anonymous,  August 20, 2023 at 11:09 AM  

The giving shed is an fantastic idea πŸ’‘ it great for people who need things they can get it early and it so much help and really makes a change in people lives I love the giving shed πŸ˜„and think it's awesome πŸ‘

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