October 18, 2012

Making Your Clothing Donations Count

Illustration via etsy shop, Unraveled Designs

I don't like the way any of the donation centers are ran in our area. Please don't misunderstand me, I do believe these organizations are doing great, helpful things, I just don't agree with the way donations of used clothes and furniture are handled.

Aside from the usual suspects, Goodwill and The Salvation Army, there are two main collectors in our area that I'm aware of: Big Brothers Big Sisters and the National Multiple Scelorsis Society. You know the ones that will come to your doorstep and pick up your donations?

Goodwill and Salvation Army take your donations and sell them in their thrift stores. These thrift stores employ people in our community and act as a place for job training. The profits go towards funding the larger, nationwide entity.

Big Brothers Big Sisters and the National Multiple Scelrosis Society sell your clothes to Savers, which is a for-profit company. Savers pays the non-profits by the pound, a small percentage. Through this process, money does go to the non-profits, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not much.

I don't know about you, but when I donate something, even if it's something I don't want anymore, I want it to make a direct difference within our community. It's not much, it's not like my old t-shirts are going to cure cancer within Reno, but something about an organization turning it around and selling it to make a profit while benefiting from the positive press they receive by supporting non-profits rubs me the wrong way.

So, after some research I discovered a few places where your donation, no matter how small it might seem, doesn't get muddied in the waters of non-profit funding. They go directly into the hands of the people who are in need. There's no over-priced thrift store prices, they're just given to people in need.

It does take a little extra effort on your behalf, as there aren't bins or donation centers on every corner like the other places. But in my humble opinion, it's worth it.

Evelyn Mount

You've seen her name everywhere with good reason. She simply helps the people in need of our community. No muss no fuss. When we asked what specific things she needs, standing in the garage of her modest home off El Rancho Blvd,  she said "ANYTHING."

"This wonderful program accepts food, gift cards from local grocery stores, clothing and monetary donations at 2530 Cannan St. in northeast Reno. There is also a food donation bin at the the Sak-n-Save grocery store at 1901 Silverada Blvd., off Oddie Blvd."

Visit her website for more information.

Casa de Vida

Casa de Vida's "Wanda's Closet" is a local baby boutique providing free diapers, formula, wipes, baby equipment, food, and clothing to at-risk infants and children under the age of five. Each year, approximately 3,500 families in our area are assisted through this program, and all items are available because of the generous donations and support they receive on an on-going basis.

"Wanda's Closet" is currently seeking donations of formula (any brand and size), and winter coats (sizes 6 Months to 5T). If you can help, please contact April Gonzalez at 775-329-1070, or drop-off donations to 1290 Mill Street in Reno.

Wanda's Closet is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm (closed for lunch each day from 11:30am to 12:30pm).  They have  a baby boutique providing free diapers, formula, wipes, baby equipment, food, and clothing to at-risk infants and children under the age of five. FREE.

Visit their website for more information.

Where do you like to donate your unwanted items? Do you know of any other organizations in our area that benefit people in need directly? Please share in the comments so we can spread the word.

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