Chana Widawski and Bailey Sperling spend their afternoon organizing their passion project. They set up shop at 45th St. just west of 9th Ave. in Hell's Kitchen. The owner of the building gave them permission to use the exterior wall for their store. At this store everything is free. People can drop off things they don't want and pick up a few items too--free of charge.  

"We have so many folks right now in this neighborhood and neighborhoods across the city that are without work and people without roofs over their heads. Things like toothpaste is just an expense more than sometimes people can afford right now," said Chana Widawski, co-founder of Hell's Kitchen Free Store."So many of our neighborhoods are filled with people who are getting rid of things like Gucci sunglasses cases and people who need help purchasing toothpaste."

The Free Store also focuses on helping the environment. Think of it as "free-cycling"

"We all have so many things and there are so many resources that are put into making new things all the time when there is perfectly good stuff in people's houses they just want to get rid of. All the stuff here would have otherwise gone to a landfill," said co-founder Bailey Sperling.

"They're helping a lot of people. They are giving a wonderful service I think it is very amazing," said Carey Gordon, who spent some time browsing.

The founders ask people to bring things like soap and toiletries, and to not bring items like food or clothing. Everything you need to know with what to bring and not to bring is on their Instagram @HKFreeStore.

"We have a very small space here, things like clothes and food take up a lot of space and are really hard to manage," Sperling said. "Without a full time staffer we cannot manage food, and clothes, textiles, furniture and other big stuff.'"

They do have more than 50 volunteers who pass by the store a few times a day and take a check in picture to post in the volunteer WhatsApp group. They even have a plastic curtain at the ready for rainy days.

"People are stepping up left and right to make it tidy and make it succeed," Widawski said

Their goal is to eventually create neighborhood sharing hubs in structures similar to what we see for outdoor dining in the city.

To get involved in this store and other free stores in the city or even start your own visit here.