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Mar 5 UPDATE: This order is proving a bit more laborious to expedite than our vendor had originally anticipated, so these boxes haven't been shipped out yet. Anyone who filled in a form should receive an email with tracking information as soon as their box is shipped. Anyone who didn't catch the email on time, please see this other post.


Jan 30 UPDATE: JNat just sent out emails to collect addresses — be on the lookout for those, and try to fill it in the next two weeks! :)

Did you receive any gifts that you'd appreciate a lot more if they were actually something that you could use, or even wanted? Do you still have some from the last few years? Don't feel bad, we've got you. Curious? Read on.

If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you've got, well, stuff. We've got stuff too, in fact, we have so much stuff that we really need to make room to order new stuff. And in order to do that, we need to give it away.

But we feel kinda bad about giving people that have an abundance of stuff even more stuff when there are so many folks out there that really need stuff, especially in colder climates right now. Our branded flashlights, keychains, stickers, mugs, mouse pads, aprons, and things of that sort are super cool, but they aren't things that charities can use directly without burning additional overhead.

That's where the stuff-a-way idea comes in. Here's how it works:

  1. You give stuff that you don't need to people that need it. That could mean dropping off some stuff to a charity, food bank, making a donation to a non-profit that can help people (if money is the thing you have too much of), handing a blanket and a cup of coffee to a homeless person, or whatever makes someone's life better than it was before you did your thing.
  2. You write an answer to this question and let us know that you did something and tell us about your random act of kindness. You can share as much or as little as you'd like; we're going to take your word for it. In your answer, tell us what sites in our network you like the most (we'll go by where you participate if you don't).
  3. We will send you a shoebox full of swag that you'll be sure to like. See what we did there? Everyone wins because:
    1. Those in need get stuff they can use immediately (things like mouse pads, aprons, pens, stickers, notebooks, and keychains aren't on that list, we're sure).
    2. You get rid of stuff you don't need. We empty our warehouse for the most part to make room for all new stuff. Your sweat equity is getting out to do something nice, our's is handling all the shipping of the goodies.
    3. You get stuff you want, in the form of a loot-box style package from us.

If you'd rather not receive anything, just say so. This event is structured so that we make sure giving is all about what the recipients actually need and the warm feelings from it come secondary (which is why we don't just bulk-donate thousands of dollars worth of stuff); beyond that, we're cool with whatever terms you like.

The rules

  1. Any user of MSE in good standing is eligible, including employees, but only one entry per person is allowed. Likewise, prizes are limited to one per participant.

  2. You must ensure that your email address associated with your account is current and verified by our system to receive your box. Not hearing back from folks is a big problem for this kind of event, so make sure the email associated with your account works, and is one that you check at least semi-frequently.

  3. To participate, you must make some kind of needed donation to a person or charitable organization in need of what you have. Canned food for a food bank? Good. Old laptops for any educational purpose? Good. A bag of fast food for a homeless person? Good. We trust that you will do good things and not require adult supervision, please prove us correct there. Also, homeless shelters need socks, sanitary pads, diapers, etc - a little research in your area can go a long way.

  4. Sweat equity is accepted as a donation (in which you go volunteer your time somewhere that meets the spirit of this event). Again, we trust that you'll make us proud of you.

  5. This event will remain open until it's very likely that we're just about out of stuff to send. That could be a month, a week, or whatever. It's hard to say with these types of events.

  6. Oh yes, the prizes! Boxes will include multiple things consisting of pens, sharpies, stickers, drink holders, aprons, battery packs, flashlights, mugs, mouse pads, staplers and other office supplies, games, shirts, hats and other items branded Stack Overflow or after other Stack Exchange websites. Some items will also include rarer prizes like hoodies, other branded outerwear and bags, books, and other surprise items.

  7. While we'll ask for your preferences, we can't guarantee what's going to be in any given box. It's a mystery, but it will be cool stuff!

  8. Our code of conduct applies to any and all activity related to this event.

Now, head to those closets, attics, or those boxes that might be under a pile of more appreciated gifts and help everyone get something that they want and need at the end of the holiday season this year.

While we hope to be able to do this again in the future, it'll depend on what we've got laying around. If any of our customers signal that they want to throw in some stuff to sweeten the communal pot luck, we'll update the post (I honestly haven't talked to anyone about this yet, kinda winging it, so check back occasionally for updates).

Commence the stuff-a-way! And, enjoy being good to your fellow living creatures that could use a little help right now.

Thank you, everyone!

The stories you've shared are full of great examples that we hope will inspire others to adopt new and creative ways of giving to those that need some help. From reminding all of us that donating blood can literally save lives, to ideas surrounding creative kits that contain essential supplies and some gift cards, you've given lots of folks great ideas and been an inspiration. This was an experiment, and because of you, it was a resounding success!

We'll be reaching out soon (really, allow the full 6 to 8 weeks here as this is a huge effort) and getting everyone that wants one their boxes of goodies. We'll very likely do something similar to this as part of Stack Exchange Gives Back next year, so stay tuned, and thanks again to everyone that participated!

closed as off-topic by Tim Post Jan 9 at 18:06

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question." – Tim Post
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 6
    Gifts, This year? No. ;) – MEE was the missing bracket Jan 2 at 19:47
  • 32
    I like how this event lets the community be a part of Stack giving Back. <3 – EKons Jan 2 at 19:48
  • 6
    @MEE I thought of inventing a time machine and finding out where you live just to go back in time and give you something yesterday, but editing the post seemed easier. Fixed. – Tim Post Jan 2 at 19:59
  • 36
    What a great idea! Does stuff we gave away in the few days before this meta post count too, or does it need to be in response to this meta post? – Monica Cellio Jan 2 at 20:43
  • 10
    This is a 2018 Stuff-A-Way, so did the act of charity have to be done last year? – Caleb Kleveter Jan 2 at 21:02
  • 8
    Best. Thing. Ever. But, why tag it as winter bash? – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jan 2 at 22:03
  • 11
    I don't like this. Charity isn't something that needs to be rewarded. – Avnish Kabaj Jan 3 at 4:50
  • 9
    @AvnishKabaj: You can do charity without it being physically rewarded. This is just a way to promote even more charitable acts. (To some degree, all charity that people do is done for the "reward" of feeling good about yourself.) – V2Blast Jan 3 at 5:44
  • 7
    @AvnishKabaj agree if we would have been given money for this. But SE swag is just pure fun, so best way to encourage us to do good things. :) – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jan 3 at 7:14
  • 17
    @AnkitSharma Any recent event is fine. There's no hard 'cutoff' other than your own instinct; if it's fresh enough to feel relevant for you, it's probably fine. In the very unlikely event that someone posts something that isn't in good faith we'll deal with it, but we won't let the possibility of someone doing that complicate things needlessly for others, if that makes sense. – Tim Post Jan 3 at 14:02
  • 13
    When will we get the emails again? – Charalampos Fanoulis Jan 5 at 19:30
  • 9
    @AgiHammerthief Isn't the whole point of charity to help people? Maybe there's merit in being humble, but the real core purpose of charity is helping people in need; telling people about it doesn't make the beneficiary benefit any less. – Ian Jan 8 at 15:44
  • 8
    I agree, @Ian. And in particular, telling others about one's efforts to give back, when encouraged to share such stories, hardly makes a user sharing such a story any less humble than one who decides not to do so. Indeed, sharing "good news" helps counter the incessant exposure to crimes and warfare and human misery, and in this way, helps folks to be inspired to contribute, rather than concluding there's no point in any thing, anyway. – Namaste Jan 8 at 22:44
  • 4
    @AgiHammerthief It depends on the context - if one is not being self-promoting ("Look at me; I'm so great..."), but rather sharing in joy, then perhaps it is right to share our joys with one another, just as we bear one another's burdens... "Joy shared is doubled; pain shared is halved." – user3.1415927 Jan 9 at 4:06
  • 7
    @Ian Nothing yet. I'm in the US. – Mooseman Feb 26 at 15:48

253 Answers 253

4

Every year my company provides a gift for employees, with an option to donate to a charity instead. This past Christmas I used this to donate to Childhood Cancer Support - a charity which at that time of year helps to support children going through cancer treatment. In the spirit of the question asked, I guess it was pre-emptively giving something away I didn't really need.

Also like a few others here, I'm a regular plasma donor. If you are in Australia, check out if this is something you can do. One in three Australians need a blood products in their lifetime, so if not you then someone you know will benefit one day.

4

This post is about books donation.
Here's the short story : Normally all the postmen would just leave any package delivered in the society near the building's lift and the packages would get lost / damaged most of the times but this guy delivered a very important and time sensitive package in the rainy season by actually coming to my flat as he thought it must be important. I couldn't thank him enough and when we got to talking he told me he had a son two years younger than me. That's when I decided to give away all my entrance exam books to him. Whenever I see him now, he has the biggest smile on his face :)
My favorite sites are Stack Overflow and Ask Ubuntu.

4

The company I work for is very involved within their community. This year, we participated in the 500K Meal Pack Out drive for Islamic Relief USA. While I don't keep much extra food stocked at home, I went to the store to purchase a bunch of canned goods to donate for the drive. We dropped the food off in December, and a group also volunteered to help actually pack the boxes.

In addition to this, my wife and I tend to make multiple trips throughout the year to drop off extra clothes, electronics (so many extra computer parts!), and home goods at Goodwill. We also donate to various charities, but those mainly tend to be environmental and science based organizations (World Wildlife Fund, VA State Parks, planetariums, etc.).

It's very inspiring to read the stories of how people are helping people. This event is amazing. Thanks for putting it together!


Most active on StackOverflow.

4

I lost a cat last year, and had a bunch of in-date elderly-kitty cat-food that my new little monsters won't touch, so I've given it to the local wildlife rescue centre for the rescued hedgehogs and fox cubs.

Today I donated an old pair of glasses (never used) to be sent to India to do some good.

And a neighbour who tends the garden of an elderly neighbour took away a bunch of stuff from the garage/shed that I can't use (health problems). (Honest disclosure: I will get veggies next year as a result, as well as a clear garage).

And Oxfam agreed to turn up with two men in a van to clear my 'book room; (30 years accumulation of books and CDs that I don't use any more.)

I could get into this... However, My partner has locked away his entirely excessive clothes collection. And the cats do not seem inclined to share their toy mice.

4

As part of our supposedly annual, but often bi- or even tri-ennial house clean-up before xmas, we at the end of 2018 donated 5 large bin-bags of good used clothing & 4 still serviceable [up to at least Win7 if not newer] computers to local causes.

We didn't do this so anyone would "think well of us" or even say, "thank you" - we did it because it simply seems the right thing to do with things perfectly usable but no longer required.

That it may win me a flashlight feels like I now need a round of applause... but no, I'd just very much appreciate a new flashlight.

4

Went through our closets and was able to fill three garbage bags full of clothes and blankets that we don't use anymore and took them to Goodwill.

4

I am not sure if I'm eligible (good standing on meta?), but I would like to share anyway to at least give ideas to others.


We have a family near our home without any permanent source of income, which even forced them sometimes to begging. We have set up a small shop for them (for selling vegetables), this year.

Life will still be tough for them, but let's see how it goes.


The favorite SE site is Stack Overflow.

4

I recently purchased a new laptop to replace my previous one, which was insufficient for my gaming and other needs. In lieu of discarding it or sending it to E-waste, I instead reinstalled a clean environment, and gave it to a fellow student at my school who did not have a laptop to use (with the software they needed pre-installed)1. I'm hopeful that the laptop I considered a clunker might get at least two or three more years of life before it undergoes E-waste recycling.

I've also committed to donating some of my old clothing/shoes that is either too worn or no longer fits me well. I've identified a location that will accept it, separate reusable vs recyclable articles, and put everything to good use. Unfortunately, since I'm home on break I won't be able to actually do this until next week.

1 It included all of my tech company and hackathon stickers, including a Stack Overflow sticker.

My favorite Stack Exchange sites (in terms of recent use and academic benefit to me) are Stack Overflow, electronics.SE, and Code Review.

4

We made our annual donation to a local shelter for women and children who need a way out of abusive relationships. This is a very important institution for us, as they provide a useful resource for the local underserved population and are working on healthcare, refugee, and feed-the-homeless initiatives as well.

Stack Overflow is my favorite Stack Exchange site and the one I contribute to the most.

4

I think its a good idea to encourage others to help those in need. While, its a saying in India that "If you donate from your right hand, your left hand shouldn't know about it". But, I prefer to inspire. :)

People out here are truly charitable and it inspires me to do more. I wish to share these accounts for probably first time in my life.

To start with,

There is this one story that I am truly proud of in my own way. My first donation was at the age when I cudn't count. It was Diwali. On seeing a lady begging for alms near our home, I took 1000 bucks (They were a big deal before 20 years) from my father's wallet and gave it to her saying, "Its Diwali, buy new stuff for yourself." My parents while appreciating my gesture also scolded me for taking money without my father's permission. But, the scolding didnt affect me at all. I proudly said that noone should be sad during a festival.

Since then, our parents make my sister and I donate clothes every year. And blankets in winter. My husband too, took me to an old age home on my birthday. It was highly satisfying to see a smile on the faces of old people and seek their shower of blessings. Trust me, everyone should go there once. However, I dont have the courage to go to an orphanage yet. The mere thought of young children without parents just brings extreme sadness in me. My parents send our books over there.

I don't donate money anymore as people might use them in bad ways. So, I keep a bag of biscuits with me and whenever I see someone needy, I give them the food. And in summer, I try to buy icecreams for children. The smile on their face is truly satisfying.

My husband and I have decided that one day, we will take responsibility of fully educating atleast one child once we are capable enough to do so. Our search has begun.

I would point out that extending our hand to animals is also necessary. In our society, we try to treat hurt animals and send them to vet if the need be. I have this crows' scar on my head bcz the crows mother hit me with its beak as it thought I was harming the little crow who fell from the tree and couldnt fly back.

Don't know if this counts, but yesterday, it was freezing cold here.At a nearby place, a maid was cleaning utensils with cold water. My sister and I got the hot water arranged for her. She was happy. And so were we.

4

I have volunteered / contributed for multiple causes. I will list them below :

  • Since the age of 18, I am a regular blood donor. I am 28 now and till now I can say I've done it for almost 28 times. All it started because my uncle wanted blood for bypass surgery and I donated mine to him. And since then I regularly visiting any nearby blood bank and volunteer by donating blood.

  • When I was studying in college I used to visit Gurudwara which was near to my place. Every Thursday they organize Langar for all. That time I wanted to help them and contribute something from my end. But because that time I was not earning I do volunteer for serving food to them. So every Thursday I visit Gurudwara just to help people serve food. Even today when I get time I visit Gurudwara and help them as much as I can. Even I visit nearby orphanage sometimes and bring some snacks and food for the little angels.

Apart from this I also do contribution for cause like Relief fund, Fund for Martyr, make homeless children happy by giving them whatever they wants.


My favorite sites are Stack Overflow,Hinduism SE, Seasoned Advice and Coffee

PS: As of now I don't have any pictures or any receipt available with me but If I will find something I will definitely update it over here.

4

I donated to a charity that runs a year round day camp for children who are sick. The camp has medical staff so they (the children) can experience camp without much worry about their illnesses.

I participate in SO, RPG SE, and recently Martial Arts SE.

4

I live in Colombia and there are multiple villages with very poor people that are always in need of something.

Once every 2-3 months I collect old-but-in-good-state (and sometimes brand new) clothes, shoes, and toys from my family, friends, and neighbours, and send them to those poor people.

They are always very grateful and receive us with kindness and generosity!

My favorite sites are SO and Arqade.

4

Every couple of months, my family donates a large bag of clothes, toys and general stuff that we no longer use or require to our local charity shop. This is largely driven by my wife, in order to free up space.

If it was left to me, I would likely hoard it all for life...

I might need that t-shirt/pair of jeans for painting and decorating... ok, I have 7 painting t-shirts and 3 pairs of jeans...

So I'm glad my good wife organises regular clear outs and that it might be useful to others.

Also, if I see someone sleeping rough on the walk in to work, I will try to buy them a coffee and some breakfast.

I participate mainly SO and MetaSO.

Clear out evidence with clothes ready to go to charity shop: enter image description here enter image description here

4

Posting here for the first time. Too scared to post here as many heroes have posted their stories. So this about last year on Sep 4, 2018, that is my birthday. I was watching all the stories on WhatsApp as most of them are about me. So one of my friend's post came across, who have posted a blood donation ASAP request from a hospital source.

So I called that given number as they required A+ same of my blood. Then I visited that hospital first, while the doctor was injecting needle I don't know what went on my mind I thought I'll be dead after this (newbie in this work also I have a phobia of injections). But all went well I did feel weakness for about 15 to 20 mins but after that, I've executed my all birthday plans.

There are more stories as my parents believe in donation but this story is a favorite of mine as I had decided to donate blood every 3 months. So last month I did that again.

  • 4
    Blood donation is a really noble act. There are no big or small hero and you're a hero too. Kudos and keep it up! It was the best birthday gift that you could have given yourself :) – Nimesh Neema Jan 9 at 10:11
  • @NimeshNeema tq :) :) – codeHunter Jan 9 at 12:39
3

Old story, but thinking back it was the best good deed I've ever made, though it doesn't have happy ending.

About 15 years ago, I was young, had a decent job already, and had very little expenses. I was very active in online programming forum (it's shut down by now) and acquired several good friends there. One of them was a 60+ years old programmer who worked as freelance for long years, called Daniel. (From USA)

Daniel kept in touch with me via email and we wrote each other regularly. At some point, he said that he got only one big project he's working on, with a client who promised to pay when the project is done, some big amount of money. Time passed, and about a year after that he said he finished the big project, sent it all to the client (who wasn't in the US), and the client.... vanished into thin air. No money. No client. No way to contact them anymore.

He didn't find new projects, being dedicated 100% to that big project and counting on the money to arrive, and it reached a point he was totally out of money. He also had no family that could help, and no IRL friends.

Realizing it's really serious, I asked how I can help, in any way, and he said that only cash money would help in that stage. I asked for his address and sent to that address a big programming book (forgot what it was), with 25 bills of $100 each (attached with transparent adhesive tape so they won't fall) hidden inside it.

After few weeks he sent me the last email I ever got from him, saying big thanks for the money and that it's not enough to keep him at his home, and that he's being thrown to the street very soon. He made it clear it's pointless to try and send more money, and that he'll contact me if things will get better. He didn't.

  • 1
    Thats's really sad. – undefined Jan 3 at 15:18
3

Me and my wife are passionate gamers, so we always have the need for the latest hardware. Not because we actually need it, but because we can afford it.

Instead of having multiple rigs catching dust I spend my freetime fixing our old stuff and once in a while when we replaced or fixed enough hardware to have fully working PCs (or even consoles) I donate them to the friendly neighborhood youth club where I used to hang around for years. (Don't worry, I keep our hard drives and install new ones instead.)

I'm still grateful for the stuff they do with the kids and teenagers to get them off the street, so I'll likely keep it up in the future and donate hardware to them whenever they can use it. They gave me a lot when I was a kid and it's the least I can do to give something in return.

3

My wife and I make a monthly donation to a local charity organization.

This organization focuses on helping people pull themselves out of poverty, by mentoring, helping them build a budget, and finding ways for them to increase their incomes and lower their expenses. It's a charity organization that aims to make itself unnecessary.

3

Long time lurker here...

My office donates gifts for disadvantaged children to St. Vincent de Paul, a charity that fights the effects of poverty in Ireland. This year I chose two 10 year olds, a boy and a girl. The boy I got Lego, and for the girl a really well illustrated book about famous Irish women in history. These were probably the only gifts those children got this year, I hope they enjoy them.

Shoutout to StackOverflow for all the help through the years!

3

I just started supporting The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe with a monthly donation on Patreon.

The SGU's mission is to spread love of science and critical thinking – a thing we really need in a world that is increasingly full of fake and with a rising contempt for reality. So for me, this is about joining forces to make the world a better place, at a really high level.

They produce an awesome podcast! Take a listen. And I encourage you to support them as well if you agree with the mission.


I don't know if the above digital donation counts as "stuff"... Just to be on the safe side, I can say that we also just did a major clean-up of our house and gave away loads of cool toys to our neighbours who have younger kids than ours. Toys are stuff!

3

We started cleaning out the house between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, and here's what we did with the things we found:

  • Usable clothes and shoes that we didn't like or didn't wear anymore were donated to the Red Cross. While most other places accepting used clothes will ship them to Africa, our local Red Cross branch has a free shop for people in need, where they can pick up clothes and shoes without paying - really useful in Winter. We donated a total of 10+ bags.
  • Old and unused furniture was given away for free on eBay Classifieds. We made sure that people in need got these. Instead of throwing stuff away, someone else can still get a use out of an old table, chair or shelf.

We continue to go through the house and uncover more stuff to give away or donate. It feels good to give back...

As for the SE sites: I'm mostly on SO and on Ask Different - both are fantastic resources.

3

I just recently relocated and changed a lot of my bad habits due to a new job and a new person I wanted to become connected with that.

One of the bad habits I had as the previous person I was, was that I had been sort of an compulsive hoarder. I fortunately already successfully overcame that habit within the last 3 months. One of the things I hoarded en mass, were my clothing. I always felt like "for some reason at some day it might fit again, so I have my clothing of almost the last 10 years hoarded in my old flat, which I have to empty out by first of April. I planed to just trash anything I won't have use for and just give away my clothes in an easy way. But this meta post made me reconsider it. I decided the time to get rid of my old clothing is not "sometime till April", but now when it is most useful for others. Also I will be more considered about what might be of use for others and what in fact is just trash, when the time has come for getting my flat empty.

My favorite stacks are, Stackoverflow, as that was the site that gave me a head start into my career; professional speaking and also I just found out through SO of the whole network. Then Arqade as.... well, I like gaming, and I am someone playing video games on a metagaming way, so I come every now and then up with questions, that not many gamers come up with, so not necessarily easy to find that in the internet, but there my questions get answered quick. And last but absolute not least, Interpersonal Skills as that site helped me so much in becoming who I am right now, and even the job I am in right now (which is awesome) I only applied, because on IPS someone adviced me applying at this company, as that company supports employees with conditions like I have, when I described my situation in one of my posts there.

3

I donated blood someone indeed ( one of my friends of friends ) . Helping people who troubling with small tech issues related to mobile or laptops are my main job over these years. so much friends and aged people trust me for that.

Last year, our state face a huge disaster as the form of flood. we use social media as well as physical help to someone indeed. proud to be a part of that rescue as much as I can.

i am mostly using stackoverflow

3

I have a lot of clothing that I don't wear anymore, so a few weeks ago I dropped off a box of clothes to a local charity so that someone else can use and enjoy them.

Favorite website: Stack Overflow

3

I am in 9th Grade (or Form 3, as we say it in Malaysia), and I have some extra sets of uniforms (I bought new ones as the old ones are too small). I donated them to the Consulting Department in my school, and they will give it out to people who can't afford to buy uniforms. :)

Update 1: Ah, and I wrote a blog post here to spread kindness!

Favourite Site: Math StackExchange

3

Not long ago I donated to a foundation 'HulpHond' and participated in a nationwide event where dog owners were asked to bring their dog and join the 'Big Walk', to help raise awareness for this foundation.

This foundation aims to improve the lives of physically/mentally impaired people by using assistance dogs to support them.

3

Thanks to this post I have done a post-holiday clear out of old clothes, all of which have gone to a local homeless charity. Coats, gloves, shirts, shoes all now off to a better home :)

3

I've recently moved from Brazil to Germany due to a job I found here. As extra baggage is too expensive, I could take only two suitcases with me. Therefore, I took all my extra clothes (winter and summer clothes) and donated it to my local church, that helps homeless people. It was about 4 large bags. Felt really good, for I had never donated so much at once.

Favorite website: StackOverflow.

3

We took the opportunity to declutter and donated clothes and household items to local charities that provide for needy families and the homeless. Coats are a much needed item this time of year and we were able to donate several to our local 'Coats For Families' charity.

My favorite Stack sites are Seasoned Advice, The Workplace, Ask Different, and Music.

3

I donated a couple of old winter coats to the New York Cares Coat Drive. Also we had a catering service at my office and I bagged some of the leftover bread and gave it to a couple of people who asked for help in the subway :)

Also moved recently and donated some appliances and pillows to a local Goodwill near our old apartment

  • got my swag! thanks guys :) – Yuca Mar 21 at 13:57

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