Helping the less fortunate is not very complicated- it doesn’t require hours of research to find a trustworthy organization for charitable donations, or hard labor at a shelter or kitchen (although these are perfectly good ways to give back!) You can help people in your own neighborhood easily by going through your old possessions and donating clothes, toys, knickknacks, furniture, anything you don’t need anymore. Not only are you helping people in need, you are helping the environment; clothing and other textiles comprise about 5% of the refuse in landfills. In 2006 alone, the used-clothing industry saved 2.5 billion pounds of fabric from landfills. Almost all of the textile waste in landfills is recyclable in some way and could be used for people who need it. Charitable clothing donations could help put clothing on the back of a toddler whose parents could not otherwise afford it, which means more money to put food in his belly.
Good will donations are very easy- many cities, such as Philadelphia (which has a population of 440,000 people living under the poverty line) even offer donation pickup services for those who are too busy to bring their lightly used clothing into a good will donation center. There are even home clean out services that come to your home and help you do a “spring cleaning” of sorts and help you sort out what you are able to donate and what the center will not take.
A quick checklist to keep in mind when considering items for good will donation-
- Once you get everything together, look it over. Avoid donating things that are stained or ripped, or are missing pieces and parts.
- If you are looking to donate specialty items, such as computers, electronics, or mattresses, call your local donation center to make sure they accept them and that there are no restrictions on them.
- Donation centers cannot accept any items that have been recalled or banned because of safety standards, so no recalled cribs or toys with lead paint on them.
- Don’t forget your books! Literacy is incredibly important for children and often books are the first thing cut out of a tight budget. However, many centers will not accept magazines, encylopedias, or periodicals, so if you’re not sure, check in