Dozens of 486 and 386 computers, laser printers, software, typewriters, desks, chairs, file cabinets, overhead projectors and enough stationery to stock Staples were free for the taking by 60 West Valley schools and not-for-profit organizations that attended the L.A. SHARES "free shopping spree" Friday and Thursday.
"There are so many things to choose from, such as a variety of papers, overhead projectors and things that are hard to come by," said Peggy Jacobs, second vice president of the PTA at Justice Street Elementary School of Canoga Park. "I'm very impressed by the inventory."
Despite the many items available, Bert Ball, executive director of L.A. SHARES, said that "it's only the tip of the iceberg."
"We also have a 14,000-square-foot warehouse near the harbor full of materials," Ball said.
On hand at the event in Los Feliz on Thursday was Councilwoman Laura Chick, who set up the two-day event so that schools and nonprofit groups could learn about the program.
"We need to look for creative, cost-effective ways to provide our schools and nonprofits access to free supplies and materials that they desperately need, and the L.A. SHARES warehouse is a perfect match," Chick said.
L.A. SHARES is the brainchild of Adolfo Modal, general manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs, who established it to help the arts community in 1991. Under Ball's direction, L.A. SHARES has expanded to benefit all nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles while serving to reduce waste.
"Fifty percent of the materials that go into landfills come from [L.A.] companies," Ball said. "This program is a way for companies to practice waste reduction and this is a very simple way of doing it."
Operated with a staff of four, L.A. SHARES has given away $5 million in materials this year to schools and nonprofit organizations and $4.5 million in materials to homeless groups in Los Angeles, said Ball.
There are plans to find a warehouse for his group in the Valley, said Modal, who added that 30% of SHARE's funding goes to the area.