I have always been driven to help others. Organizing is my passion, but it goes way beyond that. When my clients have items that they no longer need but are in good condition, I share them with organizations that give back to the community and help others. I thought I would share some of these resources with you.
My main “go to” location for all household decor and children’s toys is The Giving Tree Foundation. The Giving Tree is a non-profit resale and gift shop in Wake Forest, NC. Their mission is to support the ongoing educational, enrichment and extra-curricular programs of the Wake Forest elementary, middle and high schools (public, private and charter) through the donation of profits generated from their resale shop. The store was started by some active PTA members who were frustrated with traditional fundraisers that require a lot of effort but not much in return in the way of funds. They thought outside of the box and started the store as a way to supplement the needs of the local Wake Forest schools. Since they opened in August of 2013, they have donated over $50,000 back to their schools! Shopping at The Giving Tree is not like shopping at your typical thrift store. While the prices are similar the atmosphere is above and beyond. It is a boutique experience with lovely displays throughout the store showcasing lots of gently used treasures. If you haven’t been there yet, please visit them at 839 South Main Street. I can almost promise you that you will find a lovely treasure just for you!
When my clients have furniture pieces that are no longer useful to them, I reach out to The Green Chair Project. Their slogan is “Working Together to Provide Everyone the Comforts of Home”. They reuse donated household furnishings to renew the lives of participants referred from area programs that are recovering after homelessness, crisis or disaster. For a small fee, families working with case managers from partnering agencies can select furniture, linens, cookware and accessories to outfit their new homes. The beauty of this organization is that families are empowered to make their own choices in order to create their surroundings and rebuild their lives. The co-founders of this project, Beth Smoot and Jackie Craig, were both trained in real estate home staging. They realized the many people had an abundance of stuff that they didn’t want to go to waste but no longer had a need for. This was their “ah-ha” moment. They created The Green Chair Project in 2010 as a receptacle for those items, as well as a “green” way to reuse good stuff to benefit their neighbors in need. Please see their website for more information on them and also for volunteer opportunities.
For clothing, I have two non-profits that I use. For women’s dress clothes, accessories, handbags and shoes, I use Dress for Success. Their mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and life. Pat Nathan founded Dress for Success Triangle in 2008, and thanks to her vision and effective engagement of leading women across the region, the affiliate has become one of the strongest and fastest-growing in the country. Every day Triangle women are transformed and can reach their potential with the support of our volunteers, donors and corporate partners. The fact of the matter is their clients’ confidence in knowing their value in the workplace and being fearless to seek the role that will match that value. If you have professional items to donate please consider taking them to Dress for Success.
For casual clothing for all ages, gender and sizes, Note in the Pocket is my favorite. They provide clothing to impoverished and homeless schoolchildren in Wake County with dignity and love. Note in the Pocket believes that it is unacceptable that children are limited in their educational and social development because they do not have appropriate clothes for school.
I’d like to share this story from their website:
“In the fall of 2005, a recent college graduate (we’ll call her Margaret) began what had long been her dream job—teaching kindergarten to an underserved population. She chose to begin her teaching career in an impoverished school (one with a free-and-reduced lunch rate that hovered around 95%), with a student population beset with all the problems commonly associated with poverty—homelessness, food insecurity, lack of appropriate clothing for school, inadequate healthcare, etc. She quickly realized that her teacher training had not addressed the realities of teaching students who were struggling mightily outside the classroom.
Margaret shared her concerns with her mother (we’ll call her Susan). Together they decided that they would focus on providing one of these basic needs and thus make at least a small difference, one student at a time. It was late September, cooler weather had arrived, and Margaret had noticed that many of the children continued to wear the same short-sleeved shirts and shorts and did not seem to have sweaters or jackets. What would they do when it got really cold? Margaret and Susan set out to acquire a winter coat for each child in the class. They purchased coats from store sales and thrift shops, and before the temperatures dropped to freezing, Margaret was able to send a coat home with each child in her class. Some of the coats came back the next day, as it was not clear to the families that the coat was a gift for the child to keep. The school’s social worker prepared a note explaining that the coats were donations from the community and were the children to keep; a copy of the note was inserted into the pocket of each donated item. And so began the project that eventually became Note in the Pocket.
It started as a one-family ministry providing coats for a single classroom in a single school to which they had a personal connection. However, additional family members, then neighbors and friends, then even strangers heard about the ministry and wanted to participate. The next year the coat donations covered all the kindergarten classes. And the ministry kept growing, so that by the third year, all the students in the school received a coat before winter began. The school social worker helped to organize the coats so that each child could select one; after the first year, each coat had a “note in the pocket” to confirm that the children were to keep the coats.”
It warms my heart to use each of these organizations for my client’s unwanted items. And you know what? It warms theirs too! With so many of us having so many excess items, why not share the your unused and no longer wanted items with another organization that gives back to the community? I encourage you to take a look around your own home and see if there is something that you can gift to one of these non-profits. My guess is that it will warm your heart as well. If the thought of gathering these items is overwhelming to you, I’m happy to lend a hand. I’ll even take the donations on your behalf!
What are your favorite donation locations? I’d to lean about more resources in the area.