From power tools, to camping equipment to children toys — for the past five years, the Toronto Tool Library and the Sharing Depot have loaned out over 65,000 items. Torontonians can borrow any of these items the same way one can borrow a book from the library.
However, the sharing network that has helped city residents build, borrow and fix is now in need of a helping hand itself.
“We just want to exist as this thing for our community but we’re facing this 20% shortfall right now in our budget” says Lawrence Alvarez, one of the co-founders.
High rent, a lack of grants for existing projects and city permit issues are contributing to their budget crisis.
“We’ve made the choice to be downtown and accessible … and we want to basement our membership prices as much as possible.” Alvarez adds. “So it’s difficult to get money for operations.”
The organization says they now need $35,000 to stay afloat and have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds.
The sharing network, which has nearly 5000 members and 20,000 supporters online, hopes to further expand the project which they say promotes a sharing economy. The money they raise will go towards adding new items to their shelves and new workshops.
“There are huge benefits to have these physical locations where people can come and share things” says Alvarez. “This exists for people who want to do DIY projects, fix their own stuff and feel empowered. We want to give them the skills and teach them how to do tiling, drywall, plumbing — all these different kind of things.”
So far they’ve reached 70% of their goal through crowdfunding and they’re in talks with the city to become a municipal service.
“We are excited about this idea because we see it as part of a large global solution that is necessary for this planet that is finite” says Alvarez. “We cannot continue to take out and not replace.”