Megan Reed knew there were Beaufort families who would benefit from a potluck of free necessities.
She had no idea how popular the idea would become in a short time.
What was expected to be a small gathering of Beaufort moms swapping children’s clothes has taken off. The next swap is Wednesday in a conference room at Quality Inn on Boundary Street from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Scores of donated items will be available for families in need to pick up at no charge. Children’s clothes, baby food and formula, swings, cribs, cradles and car seats are among the items to be given away.
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The second swap in June benefited about 85 families, organizer Reed said. She is hoping for more than 100 to take advantage of Wednesday’s event.
“I never thought it would be this big,” Reed said. “It’s definitely something I’m very proud of.”
Reed formed the swap meet based on an event her former employer held in Myrtle Beach to give away outgrown children’s clothes. The first effort in Beaufort was held at Reed’s mother-in-law’s house.
After soliciting donations for only a couple of weeks before the second event, Reed had to secure the donated conference room to hold everything. The donations grew even more for Wednesday.
A 10-by-20 storage unit is packed, and a 26-foot moving truck will deliver the goods to the hotel, Reed said.
Reed, 24, and her husband have a son about to turn 1. She describes herself as a homebody who was wary of leaving friends in the Myrtle Beach area.
Most of her friends in Beaufort came through the swap meets and connecting with local moms on Facebook, Reed said. Many are military families she knows will eventually have to move.
Reed is working to get an employer identification number so that people can eventually write off donations. She envisions trying to start similar programs in nearby cities like Bluffton, Savannah or Charleston.
For now, word spreads only by Facebook. Reed said she has avoided badgering people for donations, reaching out only when someone is giving items away.
Another Beaufort event is planned early next year, when Christmas gifts push out old clothes and toys.
“We want to give it more time to develop, because we want each one to get bigger and better than the last one,” she said.
If you go
What: Free baby and children’s items for families in need
When: Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Quality Inn; 2001 Boundary St., Beaufort.