Occasionally, I see on my Facebook newsfeed about a community member wanting to donate something to an organization or person “that can really use it.” They say, “I don’t want to just donate it to a place where they sell it.” When they say that, I assume they must mean they want to see it directly go into the hands of someone in need. I can understand that sentiment. It warms your heart to place an item you no longer need straight in the hands of someone in need. Volunteering is like that too. If you volunteer and directly help someone, people sometimes feel they receive more value from the experience. As humans, we want to directly see those that need help and know we made a difference. We want to be the person that made a direct impact on a life. We want a personal connection to the situation and sometimes we want a story to tell to go with it.
It’s wonderful that there is a culture of people who like to help others and have it in them to be kind. Kindness should never be overlooked. However, I wanted to share with you why giving items to non-profits to sell should also give you that feel-good sensation and also has a story to tell.
The Caring Place is here in Georgetown for a reason. In 1985, two women (Yoli Branson and Marty Maxwell) saw a need in this community. They saw neighbors struggling with finances and food because of job losses and other economic variables on the 80’s. Families were suffering and had no central location to receive help; they often bounced from church to church to get bits of help. The women looked to the Georgetown Ministerial Alliance to help them coordinate efforts to assist neighbors in need. They knew that if they worked together with the community they could do far more than they could individually. And, that is exactly what they did. They started with a few bags of donated clothing, a handful of volunteers, and $17 in donations in a donated storefront. Those meager beginnings eventually grew into a thriving non-profit business. Those donated items to our thrift store often found their way into homes of people who could not afford a new stove when theirs broke or perhaps they needed to clothe their kids for school. Through a voucher system, thrift store items could directly benefit a neighbor in need. But, our thrift store did more than that. The thrift shop at The Caring Place also provided good prices on merchandise for community members at large, and allowed the group to put those profits back into the community by helping neighbors with food and essential bills.
Now, let’s move forward to 2019. We still have the same model. We still accept item donations and sell them or give them to neighbors in need through a voucher system. The money we make funds this mission to help people in financial crisis. And, because we all work together with our community, a host of religious and civic organizations, and a plethora of businesses, we are able to do even more. That same beginning thought that you can do more when you work together still applies.
When you give an item for us to sell at one of our thrift stores, you are part of that community story. And, now after years of experience, we offer more programs, more services, more resources, and more referrals to more people at this one central location. I hope that when you give an item to us you will think about it like this; you are no longer giving a person just a sofa, just a dress or just a stove when you need to get rid of something. You are giving neighbors in need a community of resources to get them back on their feet.
It is a big thing you are doing as a community simply by donating items. In 2018, we helped thousands of people and we could not do that without our community continuing to rally around us with their item donations, monetary donations, food donations and time donations! We love this community and the people in it. You have created a community of caring and we see it every day.