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New column helps puts freebies in your hands

For oranges, just ask

We live in Florida, where citrus grows, literally, in our back yards — for free. People like Eileen Shirley, right, pick neighbors' trees in South Tampa, so fruit isn't wasted. Then she gives the harvest to those who need or want it. Shirley has free in-season fruit, herbs, flower cuttings and plants. Go to her Web site at, call her at (813) 832-4247 or e-mail her at

Sign up for restaurant "e-clubs"

You decide if the continuous spam of restaurant updates and products is worth the discount coupons and free meals you'll get:

• First Watch ( Get a free menu item with purchase of a menu item. (Locations in downtown Tampa and North Tampa).

• Sweet Tomatoes ( Get buy-one-get-one-free coupons (locations throughout Hillsborough).

In these days of unemployment, cutbacks and furloughs, that 30-percent-off Presidents Day sale at the mall just wasn't enough was it? We, literally, want (need?) something for nothing. So the Brandon & South Shore Times has searched for businesses that use "free" gimmicks and for really nice people who give things away. We've found that you, and your kids, can nibble for zero dollars, and take yoga, too. But you must know how. We'll share a few strategies periodically in this new column. You can help by sending an e-mail to with "free stuff" in the subject line when you find a great deal.

Look out for limited-time-only gimmicks

• Free 10-ounce cup of Italian ice from noon to 10 p.m. on March 20 to celebrate the first day of spring: Rita's Italian Ice (location in Riverview).

Check local Craigslist

Your neighbors watch Oprah, too, and have been inspired to "simplify" their lives by getting rid of stuff that you may very well need.

• First, go to

• Then, look under the "for sale" category near the middle of the page. Click on "free." You'll find something different every day in the Tampa area. A sampling from past weeks included leaves for mulch, surgery books, a toilet, chickens (bring your own cage), an organ, a loft bed, a red Ikea desk and lots of TVs.

Never buy another kids meal again

• Kids get free breakfast on Saturday mornings at Chick-fil-A locations.

• Kids 12 and under who are accompanied by their parents eat free from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays at Beef O'Brady's, 210 S Kings Ave., Brandon.

Try something new

Some specialty businesses offer limited deals so you'll give them a shot:

• Free weekend community yoga class at Namaste Yoga Studio, 17508 Preserve Walk Lane, Tampa. Class schedule varies, but is always on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

• Free stress relief yoga classes from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Mondays at the Lotus Pond, 6201 Lynne Road, and from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Thursdays at the Lotus Room, 1101 W Kennedy Blvd. For information, call (813) 254-6777.

New column helps puts freebies in your hands 03/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 5, 2009 3:30am]
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