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GULFPORT PLANS A NEIGHBORLY EXCHANGE

Where can you unload your unwanted stuff, find free treasures, enjoy a cup of coffee, engage in friendly banter with your neighbors and save money? At Saturday's Junk in the Trunk event, of course.

Celebrating its first anniversary, Saturday's event at the Gulfport Neighborhood Center will feature its first-ever plant exchange where residents can bring a plant to get a plant. Ornamental and food-bearing plants are welcome. Additionally, the first 25 people who bring a full bag of nonperishables for the Gulfport Senior Center Food Pantry will receive a free crape myrtle.

Junk in the Trunk offers residents a chance to unload their unwanted items - furniture, appliances, computers, just about anything - and save money in the process.

"As of Oct. 1, residential city pickups increased from $17 a load to $19," explained Margarete Tabor, president of Gulfport Neighbors, the local nonprofit that sponsors the event. "Junk in the Trunk is a way to save those costs."

Need to register your bike with the city? Bring it Saturday and receive a free helmet and fitting. Want to schmooze with city officials? Share coffee with members of the Gulfport Police Department and chat with council members and city staff who stop by.

In the past year, the event has resulted in the disposal of more than 21 tons of unwanted stuff. Sometimes, there are treasures to be found in another's trash.

According to Tabor, one sharp-eyed Gulfportian retrieved a near-new, top-of-the-line leather recliner; another, an antique sewing machine, and one area Little League team walked away with bats and gloves. Council member Yolanda Roman has labeled the event "the greening of Gulfport."

Gulfport Neighbors is a nonprofit group of volunteers whose mission is to be of service to the community. Anyone interested in volunteering can call Bev Newcomb at (727) 344-6105, or Kim Morrissey at (603) 419-0300.

Diane Craig can be reached at dmcraig@hotmail.com

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IF YOU GO

Junk in the Trunk

Sponsored by Gulfport Neighbors from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Gulfport Neighborhood Center, 1617 49th St. S

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