Ten Reasons to Donate to Local Organizations and Thrift Stores
Though there are some national organizations that perform phenomenal services to those in need, USR would like to offer some reasons to donate within your community areas.
- When you donate directly to local charities, your items and money stay in and serve your community. The money local charities donate to and the people they clothe, feed, and give to all make up the community in which you live! The motto of The Springs Rescue Mission, for instance, is: “Springs Rescue Mission is a great place to be neighborly because just about everyone can help just about anyone with just about anything!”
- Many local organizations not only give money to, but also offer vouchers for, their thrift shop to assist customers in need. The Thrift House of the Episcopal Church Women gives support for, and vouchers to, women and their families through TESSA (a medical and community health organization). The items at places like the Thrift House, however, are the same as what you might find in many classy consignment shops.
- Many community thrift stores and/or organizations use all parts of the buffalo. Meaning, if they cannot use part or all of your donations, they will find another charity to give your goods to. For example, what clothes The Hanger can’t use might go to the Thrift House Of The Episcopal Churchwomen, and what the Thrift House cannot use might go to the Memorial Hospital ER (clothes) or to the Humane Society (towels), or the items will be paid forward to some other local charity.
- Local charity organizations often have an owned or free location where they conduct business. Low overhead means that your dollars and donations are going directly to the necessary people and not into some corporate pocket or expense budget. (Local charities will also usually offer an explanation as to where all their donations and money go, and a white glove would find nary a smudge.)
- If you are in any doubt as to why you shouldn’t just drop off your items or checks to a faceless chain or global organization, then ask a volunteer at a local charity to tell you the story about what encouraged him or her to volunteer in the first place. The stories of the owners and workers in the community organizations might change and enrich your life.
- If you have been unfortunate enough to have to gauge time by your local disasters (I recently heard, “Did that happen before the fire or before the flood?” to which the response was, “Which fire and flood?”), then you can donate to relief organizations like Crosses for Losses‘ “My Neighbor’s Cupboard.” People who have lost everything would probably be happy to have your extra crock pot or your grandmother’s potholders. There are also wood pantries across the North and Northeast parts of the country that help to keep community residents warm during the winter. These are just two examples of community outreach that springs up in time of widespread need.
- Throw a stone in your area, and someone you know (and probably respect) will tell you all about the community work they’ve been doing for decades and where they’ve been doing it. If you spring for a cup of coffee, people can say a lot about what you’ll want to know regarding the local organizations: who is best to give to, who will keep your trust, who will best use your gifts, etc.
- Local businesses, where you spend your money and your time, are often contributors to the local charities as well. Some of these community leaders offer time, money, services, and goods to the local charities. Again, this boils down to trust in the knowledge that your hard-earned gifts, goods, and money are being well-spent and are better serving your community.
- Community charities have a good lock on the pulse of their home community, which means the specific needs of the people in your area are being addressed by what the charities request from donors (almost all of the donation sites linked below have a list).
- All charities offer a tax credit for your donations, whether they are community based, nationally based, or globally based. But ask yourself, would you rather improve the lives of those within one degree of separation or six?
While we would like to believe we are a global community, and what helps one helps all, and the Trickle Down Theory works, and all other ideals tied to broad concepts, the truth is that we are still part of a smaller web that is self-sustaining and worth caring for. Giving to your communities through simple donations, or more extensive volunteer work, is an amazing way to grow your area and make sure your neighbors are being served. If you have ever wondered whether you are doing the right thing when you drive up to a donation box or door, then you are asking the right questions. Go one step further.
Tips on how to donate in your area (both inside and outside Colorado Springs):
Homeless Shelters and Missions (click on the two above)