Garage Giveaway returning Dec. 1

Published 2:50 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

Alabaster residents Ben and Cassidy Nelson have helped to grow the annual Garage Giveaway event for the past four years. This year's event will be Dec. 1 at Regions Park in Hoover. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

When Alabaster residents Ben and Cassidy Nelson held their first “garage giveaway” in their front yard in 2009, they had no idea the event would grow as large as it has today.

In 2009, the Nelsons worked with their friends and local church groups to collect donations and give them away to about 500 people who attended the event. In 2010, the crowd doubled, and more than 1,000 visitors flocked to the Nelsons’ house to collect the free items.

A year ago, the giveaway had grown so large its organizers had to move the event from the Nelsons’ front yard to the parking lot of Regions Park in Hoover. The organizers gave away thousands of items ranging from clothes, shoes, toys, appliances, furniture and much more at last year’s event, prompting the giveaway’s return for this year.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1 in the Regions Park parking lot in Hoover’s Trace Crossings neighborhood off Alabama 150 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. During the event, the organizers will set the items up much like a yard sale, and will allow anyone who shows up to take anything they need.

“We discourage greedy behavior. These items were donated by families to help meet the needs of other families. Please be grateful and not greedy,” Cassidy Nelson said.

Nelson said she got the idea to host the first garage giveaway after reading the book “Crazy Love” by Frances Chan with her small group at church.

`”This book is about living a radical life for God because he has a radical love for us,’’

she said. `”One Sunday afternoon as I was emptying the dishwasher and putting away clean towels, I realized we still had a dozen clean glasses in the cabinet and we never even made it to the bottom of our huge stack of towels.

“And it hit me: ‘We don’t need all this!’ So I thought, ‘Let’s give it away,’” Cassidy Nelson added.

The Nelsons said the event has grown with the help of more than 100 volunteers who have gathered donations, organized the giveaway and helped to spread the word through social networking and phone calls.

To learn more about the event, or to make a donation, visit