Recently, we read an article in O magazine that described how one woman had raised more than $30,000 to help an injured man’s family pay his medical bills simply by organizing a community yard sale. The event was a huge success on many levels; the sale obviously helped the beneficiary, but it also motivated many of the town’s residents to de-clutter and better organize their own homes. If you’re motivated to do some good for others while you are cleaning up your own act, here are some local organizations that can turn your clutter into another person’s treasure. (The most well known groups are listed at the bottom and will accept most household goods and a wide assortment of items. They are a great resource if you want to just “drop a bag and go.” Some of the smaller non-profit groups are in need of more specific or more difficult to donate items.)
Children’s Books. Promising Pages takes your children’s used books, sanitizes them and distributes them to some of the approximately 60,000 Charlotte-area kids without books. Their target age is 1-5, but they accept books for children and youth ages infant through 18. Visit www.promisingpages.com for a donation center near you.
Building Materials. The Habitat for Humanity Re-Store is a favorite for non-traditional items that you need to clear out when you are renovating your home. Light and plumbing fixtures, doors, windows, cabinets, extra tile and more are all welcome here, as are regular household items. Visit the Charlotte or Union County websites for locations or to arrange a pickup.
Cell phones. The Mecklenburg County Community Support Services Women’s Commission uses your old cell phones to help victims of domestic violence and to raise funds for domestic violence prevention programs. Phones are given to women in need or refurbished through a group that then makes a contribution to the commission. Phones can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Women’s Commission in the Hal Marshall Building, 700 North Tryon Street, Charlotte.
Mattresses and linens. These items can be difficult to donate, but Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency loves to receive these and other donations of household furnishings. Each year, the group helps resettle approximately 3,000 refugees fleeing from violence, persecution and repression in their home countries, and they are in need of everything as they begin their new lives in the Carolinas.
Strollers, car seats and high chairs. MiraVia (Formerly known as Room at the Inn) provides a safe haven to pregnant women and their children and helps them move toward living healthy and independent lives. Visit their website for a current list of needs.
Stuffed animals. SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies) is a volunteer-run group that provides stuffed animals to children in emergency situations ranging from fires, tornadoes and hurricanes to illnesses and abuse. Their Charlotte chapter accepts gently used (and cleaned) stuffed animals and baby blankets.
Everything else – plus some! Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont and The Salvation Army accept a wide variety of household goods. You can click on their respective links to find the donation center nearest you.