Hurricane Irene Aftermath
September 23, 2011 Facebook TwitterMore...

Really, Really Free Market is aiding all islanders in need


The same folks who brought you the Really, Really Free Market one weekend a month in Avon are now bringing you the Really, Really Free Market every day in Waves – along with a new group of volunteers..

The Really, Really Free Markets began several years ago under the leadership of Jenn Augustson and the Kinnakeet Civic Association.

The idea for the market springs from the current worldwide trend toward being “green” – reusing and recycling goods we no longer want or need.

Avon’s Really, Really Free Market, on the first Saturday of each month, was a popular gathering place for people in need and people who had stuff they no longer needed.

The market usually focused on a different theme each month – back to school clothes for kids or holiday decorations.

Really, Really Free Markets work like a big flea market where everything is free.  You give away what you bring – for free – and claim what you want – also for free. Even services could be exchanged – of course, for free.

After Hurricane Irene hit Hatteras Island on Aug. 27, sending a tidal surge from the Pamlico Sound through the island’s villages, the supporters of the Really, Really Free Market found a new reason for their work.

Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo were the hardest hit villages, but the soundside of Avon, especially in Kinnakeet village, was also underwater.

Market organizers and a small army of dedicated volunteers saw a need and filled it.

Space was donated to the group by the owner of St. Waves Plaza in Waves.

Volunteers began collecting things that people needed – everything from clothing to bedding and baby supplies to pet food.

It works much like the monthly market.  It’s like a big thrift shop, but everything is free – to everyone.

And the organizers emphasize that they mean everyone on Hatteras Island is welcome –those whose home and belongings were lost or damaged and those who had no damage but are suffering economically by the loss of income for weeks now.

“One of the biggest things I'd like to get across is that the RRFM is for EVERYONE on Hatteras Island,” says volunteer organizer Jennifer Johnson of Hatteras village.  “Right now, going to Nags Head to buy shoes or clothes for a child who has outgrown what they have can be a 12-15 hour ordeal.  People can come to the Free Market to ‘shop’ for whatever they need, and to avoid feeling ‘guilty’ for taking anything, they can leave some cash for the Food Pantry in our donation box.  

“All of us who live on the island have been affected economically and emotionally, even if we have been lucky enough to have escaped property damage,” Johnson adds.

The Really, Really Free Market is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Johnson said.

Volunteers are sorting donated clothing by type and size, and it is neatly piled up on shelves in fish boxes that double as bins at the market. Individual pieces of clothing on hangers are attractively displayed on the wall above the bins.

There’s a table with baby food and supplies, one for groceries, another for hygiene products.

“Right now, the people who need the free items the most, don't have a place to live yet, so they are only able to take enough to cover their most immediate needs,” Johnson says.

There is currently a small selection of furniture and a large selection of TVs available in a storage area that the owner of St. Waves Plaza has also made available.   

“Because we have that area,” Johnson says, “we will be able to accept larger household items and furniture, and store them until people who have been displaced are able to come pick them up.

And, in addition to the list of the top items the market needs, volunteers are starting to accept new toys and clothing for children from ages 2 through 10 for the island’s Angel Tree Project.

 The market volunteers say they have had a “wonderful” response from off-island donations and have a long list of businesses and people to thank.  

The organizers of the Really, Really Free Market haven’t decided yet how long it will stay open – probably as long as there is a need.

And, if items are leftover, when the market closes, they will be passed on to other thrift stores and food pantries.

“The only way the RRFM can achieve the highest level of success is if it is used,” Jennifer Johnson says. “If we have all donations and no shoppers, our staff gets overwhelmed trying to store everything.  If we have too few donations (which has not been a problem yet), we have to turn people away.  The best use is when people bring what they don't need, and take what they can use.”



The Really, Really Free Market is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., seven days a week, in St. Waves Plaza in Waves.


The current most needed and/ or requested items include:

  • Plastic storage totes with lids and permanent markers
  • Shaving cream
  • Packaging Tape & Duct Tape
  • Bug Spray
  • Toilet Paper, Paper Towels
  • Laundry Soap
  • Toasters or Toaster ovens
  • Fans
  • New Underwear - all sizes
  • Razors (especially men's)
  • Cleaning Wipes (Clorox/Lysol type)
  • Sheets/Blankets (new or gently used)
  • Dog Food/Cat Food/Kitty Litter
  • Dog and Cat Flea/Tick/Heartworm Medication
  • Diapers, Wipes, Formula, Baby Items (shampoo, soap) - onesies, etc.

The market also needs:

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toys
  • Trash cans, laundry baskets
  • Coffeemakers, mixers, bowls
  • New Women's & Children's Socks, and Men's Large Socks
  • W95 or tc-21c particle respirator
  • Safety Goggles
  • Tyvek suits
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Rubber boots-knee high, sizes 5-14
  • Shoes
  • Dehumidifiers

Bookcases are needed for market shelving.

Clothing – either new or gently used – will be welcomed, but is not as urgently needed as the items above.

The newest and updated "needs list" is here:


Island residents and non-resident property owners, with proper identification, are allowed to enter the tri-villages and can drop items off directly at the market.

Other drop-off points include the Hatteras Library, Dillon's Corner in Buxton, Hatteras Island Family Medicine in Frisco, and Dancing Turtle Coffee Shop and Blue Pelican Gallery in Hatteras village.


Shipping address for items is Hatteras Island Family Medicine, c/o Alex Hodges, 50204 Water Association Road, Frisco, NC 27936.


The Really, Really Free Market organizers suggest that cash donations should be sent to Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men, P.O. Box 1591, Buxton, NC 27929.  The group runs an island-wide food pantry and offers financial assistance to families in need. Or they can go to Lifeboat Community Church Food Pantry at P.O. Box 84, Salvo, NC 27972.


Anyone who wants to volunteer can stop by the shop during the hours it is open.


Call Jenn Augustson at 216-6558 or Jennifer Johnson at 305-6336.

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