The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Challenge of the Week: Donate Your Items
Give is a powerful word that we often don’t express. Instead, we want to receive and we love to receive. Something happens when you give, you do actually receive, and it feels great. Between the days of Thanksgiving and Christmas, more people tend to give to charity than any other time. Many people have more stuff than they need, including canned edible goods and other things lying around that they are probably just going to throw out. You are probably no different. Go through your food pantry and just pick out things you bought over the past year, where the expiration date is still within the recommendations of being an edible food product.
You might also want to take a hard look in your closet. When was the last time your wore that dress? That shirt? Those jeans? Seriously, do you need it? Can you even fit into it? If not, someone else could use it! How about the suit that you wore to your interview? You probably would never even wear that again. Give it to someone who is unemployed, looking for a job, and has a hard time getting one because they have no suit to wear to their interview. Go on, be a good sport, and help out another fellow human being.
Instead of thinking that you are giving things away for free, you are helping humanity. You are also helping yourself, pack rat. Not to mention the attic, the basement, and the garage that used to be where you parked the cars, but now its packed with so much stuff. I don’t want to call it garbage, because you held on to it for a reason, but maybe you really don’t need it. It is time for you to do your deed and donate your stuff, that you never use, that you have lying around, to charity.
Besides, you can write it off in your taxes, not that it will do much, but at least it will make you feel good that you actually helped someone in need. Whether they were hungry, needed clothes, or even were just a family that needed a little extra help, you helped other human beings.
What you give does not always have to be money. Foods that do not perish, mostly canned goods, bags of rice, bags of pasta, or any other foods, can feed a family or several. You could also donate or volunteer your time to a local food kitchen. Help is always needed and doesn’t take much time. An hour or two a week would be plenty and you will get to meet interesting people. You might just find a friend or inspire them.
Most people who find themselves in such a situation do not choose to be there. You can even donate to them directly. Just last week, I spent $70 helping a woman, her husband, and their infant. It is money I probably should not have spent, but I knew I could go a week or two without spending more money on groceries, and what I did without, someone else could do with, so I chose to take care of this small family instead. It is not something I do often, as I am just able to afford the bills to take care of myself, but occasionally, there are just humans you see who need help, and you help them without question or regret.
She was standing outside the store and I asked her to come with me inside. I told her husband she would be alright, that we were just going to pick out a few things. Instead of giving her the money directly, which I did not have, since I only carry a credit card, I told her to choose her items. She chose diapers and formula. That was all she wanted. I knew this woman was probably starving too, so I also grabbed a liter bottle of water and a Rotisserie chicken. If they were both smart, they would figure out a way to make that last for a few meals between them.
She moved to my state from California, with a boss promising her work for several months. Unfortunately, after a month, he laid her off, and left her in the streets, unable to afford anything, so her and her husband were homeless with an infant. My town offers a lot of support and there are plenty of signs that allow for a call to 311 for that additional assistance. Perhaps they chose to go this route first? Nonetheless, I took comfort in knowing that the infant was taken care of and they at least had something to eat and drink.
Your challenge this week is to go through your stuff, do some winter cleaning, and figure out what you don’t want, need, or even use anymore. Every time I have moved, I have always had a lot of stuff to donate to charity. Whether you donate it to your local pantry, your local homeless shelter, your local food kitchen, or even to Goodwill, you are helping others in need.
Figure out where you can go in your town and donate today in any way!