Giving Back on a Budget

‘Tis the season of giving!  If you’re anything like me, you want to give back to your community & to humanity as a whole.  But, if you’re like me, you’re broke.

So, how can we give to people less fortunate than ourselves with limited – or no – funds?  Over the next couple of days, I’ll share with you three charitable opportunities I’ve used in the past year.

To give them some semblance of order, I’ve tried to list them from easiest to most difficult.  Commitment, time, & preparation are a few of the reasons why I “ranked” a particular method as easier or more difficult.


Donating Clothes

Not only are there numerous drop boxes in my area – & probably yours too! – where you can bring bags of your gently-used clothes, but some charities will pick up your donations for free.

All you need to do is call the organization to see if & when they’ll be in your area, put your items in a clean plastic bag, & label it with the charity’s name.  Simply put your name on the pickup schedule & leave marked bags on your front porch – it doesn’t get much easier!

Some trustworthy charities I recommend here might not operate in your area, so you need to call/check their website to see about picking up your clothing donations:

  • American Red Cross partners with GreenDrop Charitable Donations in some areas to pick up clothing & small household items that it sells to fund disaster relief efforts.
  • Vietnam Veterans of America offers pickup service in 13 states across the U.S. You can schedule online & they collect toys, shoes, clothing, & other household items that they sell to private companies to fund programs that help all military veterans.  “Vietnam Veterans” is a bit of a misnomer.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation collects clothing & small household items to sell & give directly to people in need. You’ll need to insert your zip code into the box labeled “Find a Local Agency” & call them to find out about pickup services near you.

If these organizations don’t have pickup service, do a quick search for “donate clothes” & your zip code to see what’s available where you live.  During this time, there are also coat drives at many locations where you can give someone the gift of warmth for the holidays.

My next two posts will deal with literally giving parts of you to people in need.  Which parts?  You’ll have to wait & see.

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