Take What You Need Project – Vancouver #takewhatyouneedproject

A few weeks ago, on the kind of grey drizzly morning that Vancouver is famous for, I found a handwritten sign that said: “Take What You Need”. The sign was set up like a for sale sign with tabs across the bottom, but instead of contact information, the the tabs offered the most valuable things in life. Was it money? The latest technological gadgetry? A new car? No, it was things we, as humans, really need:

  • LOVE
  • HOPE

When I read it, I was moved to tears. The one I needed most that day was ‘encouragement’. I was heading back to work, and working all day and spending evenings editing my book for publication. I was tired, and in that fatigue, the fear that things might not work out was eating away at me. So, when I saw the word ‘encouragement’ on that sheet of paper, it brought tears to my eyes. I was being given exactly what I needed.

I’ve been on a spiritual path for some time. As a meditation teacher, I know I help people, but nothing felt as immediate and magical as being able to anonymously help someone else I’ve never met by giving them what they needed and reminding them that it’s free.

So, a few days later, I made my own sign, based on one I saw on Facebook (at The Karma Experiment page) and put it in a local cafe. The staff there gave me some tape so I could put it up. Over the next few days, I watched as each tab went missing, knowing somehow it was making a difference.

A few weeks later, I replaced the sign to this one.

Then, today, I noticed my original sign was back. In my own handwriting. That’s when I met Mark Teasdale (@MarksGonePublic), a photographer who shot my original and tweeted about it. He introduced me to Valerie Walsh (@ValeriaWalsh) online. The two of them have been tweeting photos back and forth to each other. Now, there’s a challenge. More on that soon!

Have you seen these around Vancouver? Let me know in a comment below. Or if you were the person who posted the graphic I found downtown, near Royal Center, please identify yourself, where you posted it, and the colour of the paper you printed it on! We ALL want to thank you!!!

Would you like to participate in your own hometown? Download the file below and write in the qualities listed above. Post it somewhere in your town and let us know about it. Tell us on twitter or leave a comment below! If you want to blog about it, let us know too!

Picture for printing is here.

Have fun sharing the goodwill!

Relevant links:

The Facebook Take What You Need Project (Not started by me)
Lady Terror’s Take What You Need Page
Mano y Metal’s Take What You Need Page
Twitter’s #takewhatyouneedproject and #takewhatyouneed hash tags. (We’re using #takewhatyouneedproject)
Take What You Need (on tumblr)

Editor’s note: The founder of Take What You need contacted me. Since this original post, she’s done a blog post talking about Take What You Need. Be sure to read it here.

26 thoughts on “Take What You Need Project – Vancouver #takewhatyouneedproject

  1. amazing1987 says:

    That was a really good idea. We need to get back to the basics sometimes as humans. I also need encouragement, among other things, everday. Especially when I’m writing and editing as well! Great idea

    • lvoisin says:

      Thanks for dropping by! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. By all means, feel free to put one up in your home town. If you do, link to the pic here, or on twitter or facebook.

  2. Katie North says:

    Hi! My name is Katie North. I am the original creator of the ‘Take What You Need’ sign. Not the one you saw in Vancouver, but the original original idea. I just finished my freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin, where I put six copies of that sign up outside around my campus on notice boards. Someone captured a photograph of one, and the image has essentially gone viral across the internet. I made the sign in response to learning that an acquaintance had attempted suicide. I have definitely struggled with feelings of loneliness, depression, sadness, and desires to just be finished with it all, but I strive every day to try to let people know their worth, and to make people feel cared for and loved. I don’t want other people to feel the pain that I’ve felt. I wanted my friend to remember through their struggles that they are surrounded by the things they felt like they were missing, that they needed. They just needed to reach out and take them. As I grieved for their pain and rejoiced that they lived through their attempt to end their life, I chose to respond in this way. I need to remind people that these things are true; that you need only to reach out and take them to make them yours.

    Thank you for responding in such a positive way. It really goes to show how the things we need transcend beyond ourselves. And how we can be the people who give these things to others. What an incredible opportunity.

    If you would like to contact me about anything, my e-mail address is katiejnorth [at] aol [dot] com. Thank you so much. Be well, friends.

    • lvoisin says:

      Hi Katie, Wow! It’s so great you found me and my blog. Thanks so much for sharing your story. The spirit of it is truly lovely. I will contact you privately!

    • Valerie Greer says:

      Katie thank you so much for starting this. I truly wish I could hug you. I’m sure you know by now how many people you have touched with your poster. I am honoured to be playing a small part in this amazing movement, along with Lisa and Mark. The fact that you found Lisa’s blog strengthens my belief that this is something so ridiculously important for the world.

      Mark, Lisa and I literally tripped over one another on Twitter. We had never met before and take what you need somehow brought us together. It turns out that we all live in the same city within blocks of each other! How’s that for ‘meant to be’.

      There are so many things I would like to say to you right now but the words escape me. I’m quite overwhelmed with emotion right now (I just read your comment before starting this reply.Is it unproffesional to burst into tears at your desk?!). I guess what I really would like to say is thank you. You are an amazing spirit and I am so grateful for you. Please know what an impact you are having on so many people. Namaste

  3. greengirlrunning says:

    I just found one of these signs in the Napa Valley! I blogged about it and want to make my own to put up all over the area where I live. I would love to do another post now that I’ve found you, hopefully to inspire other bloggers to hang them as well. Such a wonderful thing to see in the world!

  4. gurms says:

    i honestly love this idea, i came across this picture when i was just searching for some encouraging words and quotes online, and found the picture of the “take what you need” poster. Then from that i found this blog. Im going to continue with this project that was started in toronto, starting from posting a few of them in different offices at my work. Ill post pictures and tweet them to @marksgonepublic and @valeriawalsh. Sometimes something like this is needed, even when we dont have time to realize that we do, or dont speak up about it. Im glad this poster is giving what people need, instead of selling things that people need. cheers, gurms x

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