Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Power of Donating

If there’s one thing that drives me insane it’s when people throw away perfectly good things.  Last weekend I watched one of my neighbors haul out a huge couch and equally large desk, down from their second floor, out across the parking lot and then heave it up above their heads to dump it in the complex dumpster.  Part of me wanted to laugh at them, another wanted to lecture them, but I settled on advising them that they could’ve donated such items vs. throwing them away.  Their response stunned me.  “We don’t have a truck & I’m not gonna rent one just to give it away.”  To which I responded: There are places that will come get it for you.  “You mean I’d have to go through the phone book and then have a stranger in my house?”  I walked away before my mouth unleashed itself, seething.

These people decided it was easier to haul a few hundred pounds to the dumpster vs. spend a few minutes on the phone & with ‘a stranger’ in their house. Generations in a landfill vs. being used and enjoyed by another family. Really?  
If you’re going to be lazy, do it the right way!

It still boggles my mind that people junk things as opposed to donating them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.  When I was a kid hand-me-downs were just part of life--but no more!  My best friend’s daughter has no idea what that term means—& not because she’s the only child in the family.  At some point in the last 20 years it became unfashionable to donate and share things when we could just toss them and go buy shiny new ones. Worse, is we don’t even wait for things to break before we toss them. Those neighbors just bought newer, nicer versions of what they tossed. 

Who says that items can only be utilized by one family?  Moreover, who says that item is useless just because you’re done with it? It’s not broken, it’s unwanted (by you)—and unwanted doesn’t equal trash.  Donating makes things available to people who normally wouldn’t be able to afford them.  Many people (not just single moms & college students) survive off cheap—but cheap doesn’t need to mean chintzy, disposable or of poor quality. 

We need to sever the line of thinking that goes from not wanting something anymore to throwing that item away.  There are three obvious alternatives: giving it to someone you know, donating it or having a garage sale.  Garage sales are an awful lot of work, and are sadly going the way of hand-me-downs. So donate your unwanted (perfectly usable) wares—to better the lives of another family and keep them out of our landfills!

Below are just a few local donation centers.

Goodwill Donation Centers:
411 Milham (269) 552-5260
420 Alcott  (269) 382-0490
5609 West Main (269) 372-6127

NuWay Thrift Store
211 cork street
(269) 343-7108

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity--ReStore
1810 Lake street   (269) 381-5523
**Will come pick up large furniture & other items
**shopping here also generates money to build homes for struggling families

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