Thanksgiving. Natural disasters. Christmas. Man-made disasters.
Toys. Food. Clothes. Household items. Socks. Diapers. Toiletries.
There are always people in need. There are times when, as an outsider, it seems more dire. And so, we have stuff drives.
My request to you—and it’s definitely not an original to me—is to be mindful with your donations.
The climbing gym has a food drive every winter that includes a sign indicating that expired foods won’t be accepted. Because they had so many people “donating” expired food.
It’s not a cleaning-out-the-pantry exercise. You’re providing food for people who don’t have food or don’t have enough food. Give them something tasty, something decent-quality. Give them something you would serve to guests.
Can you imagine how hard your life would be if you were food insecure? How much pride you’d swallow to eat at a soup kitchen? In that moment, imagine the food you’ve been gifted is not just better than nothing but is actually a treat.
That meal is extra luxurious in the midst of hardship. Simply because a donor spent $15 instead of $6 on donated food.
Clean out the pantry and throw away expired food. (If you won’t eat it, don’t give it to “beggars can’t be choosers” to eat.)
In the wake of disasters, in donating household items, again, it’s not a time to purge things that are not in good condition. Do that another time. Books should have all their pages. Games and puzzles should have all their pieces. Clothes should be clean and without tears or excessive wear.
Again, put yourself in the shoes of the recipient. Your house filled with water. You and your family are safe (or maybe they’re not…) but all of your possessions are gone.
You’re grateful and humbled by donations to get you through until you can get yourself moving again. (Months? Years?) What do you want? Are you “just happy to have something” if the clothes you’re offered smell? Or are stained? Are you grateful to have toys for your kids if the toys are broken?
As hurricane season commences, donation centers will be popping up. The holidays fall in line behind that.
Be generous. Be thoughtful. Be humble. Be grateful.