homeless shelter

I have started a major overhaul of our apartment. I am cleaning and purging. I haven't gotten very far yet, but I have done the master bathroom (which resulted in a lot more purging than you might think, from the dark depths of the cabinet) and our closet and dressers.

From this project, we have already filled eight garbage bags with items for donation. Mostly clothes, some shoes, and a few other random items (wristwatch, extra sewing basket, etc.). The things were mostly mine, but also several of Mike's shirts, shorts and shoes, as well as a small pile of baby things that we decided not to save.

We had planned to donate these eight bags to Goodwill. We always donate to Goodwill, mostly because it convenient and easy. It has become our default place to donate. They take everything off our hands and we feel better about ourselves for giving stuff to a good cause instead of throwing it away.

When I mentioned this to a friend, she suggested donating to Haiti relief, instead. She knew of a few places by her house that were still taking donations, and it would go directly to people in need. I searched for a place in my area to donate for Haiti, with no luck. But it got me thinking. Instead of donating to Goodwill, where the clothes are marked up and sold, why not donate directly to a shelter? Maybe I couldn't get the clothing shipped directly to Haiti, but there are people here with a great need, too.

I looked up homeless shelters in Jersey City. Found one nearby, and called. The woman who answered the phone was very appreciative, and said I could drop clothes off anytime. This shelter is a transitional residence, a drop-in shelter, a family shelter, and they provide meals and clothes.

We packed up five bags of donations for the shelter, leaving three bags of less practical and non-seasonal clothing, as well as non-clothing, and brought those to Goodwill. Mike, Emmett and I packed up the car and drove the bags over. We took the baby and a couple of bags out of the car, and were met with a few of the residents sitting on the steps, who jumped up to help carry bags inside. They carried the bags in for us, and they were very sweet to Emmett. He cooperated with smiles and giggles for them.

The volunteers inside were very happy to have the donations. They gave us a donation form and we were on our way, passing by the residents for goodbyes on our way out.

As soon as we have more things to donate, you can be sure I'll be right back on their doorstep. I'm not saying Goodwill isn't a cause worth supporting. I know they do good things, and I will continue to donate certain things there. But there is a lot of demand at homeless shelters, where donations go directly to the people who need the help. If you have any clothing you're finished with, and need a place to get rid of it, please remember this need and look up your local homeless shelter.


Empty Arms, Broken Heart said...

I just take my usable and unwanted stuff to Nicaragua - haha!!! But, seriously, a beautiful story and I wish there were more people who would take the time to help others!!

Thais said...

i used to give all my stuff to the GReystone thrift shop, where they patients could get non-state isues clothing for free! It was kind of nice to see your patients using your clothing and apperciating having non-institutional issued clothing, especially my younger patients

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