“What can I do to help?”
Have you found yourself asking this question lately? Then you’ve come to the right place. The act of wanting to help is the first step toward leaving a positive impact. It can be easy, though, to trip ourselves up by reaching for the moon when we should start small. How small is small? Try your neighborhood. Your community is always in need of generous donations to take the bite off of life’s rough days. Donations for veterans, families and individuals can all begin with a cursory glance through your cluttered closet.
Waste not, want not. Sadly, this phrase won’t become less relevant without some serious work on our part. Americans send a collective 10 million tons of clothing to landfills every single year without fail, even as the country is starting to see a rise in charitable donations. Clothing is a particularly easy resource to recycle, no matter how worn out or damaged, and can have a positive impact on different areas of society when put in the right place. Charity foundations are hard at work encouraging people to properly dispose of their unwanted clothes so everyone, from worker to buyer, can reap the benefits.
Cotton, latex, spandex, wool, you name it. It can be recycled. Almost 100% of household textiles can be repurposed and put back into the economy, giving factories materials to work with while reducing strain on local landfills. While landfills are an unfortunate necessity of a heavily populated society, it’s more than possible to reduce their size and the harm the spread to the environment. Air contamination is a major issue many have with waste sites, followed closely by the spread of bacteria to both animals and people.
For those that have some clothes that are gently used, donating clothing to charity can instead provide people with an affordable resource. Thrift stores and green charities offer low prices for high quality items, from clothing to furniture to toys. It’s thought the average American buys twice as many pieces of clothing than they did just 20 years ago, meaning demand is unlikely to shrink anytime soon. The average American also throws away nearly 70 pounds of clothing per year. Giving away an unwanted jacket or ill-fitting pair of jeans will create a positive cycle where little is wasted and much is wanted.
You can gather up some tax benefits as you offer clothing donations for veterans, too. When you visit a local charity and offer a charitable donation worth $250 or more you can write this amount off on your taxes. All you have to do is keep your receipt and double-check the organization you’re visiting (some are given tax-exempt status, while some are not). Some items are also in high demand, such as men’s overcoats, men’s suits, winter shoes, gloves and leather items. This can seem like a lot of benefits from a single donation, but there is truly very little to lose when you offer donations of clothing.
Try spreading the word on social media when you’re done. Donations for veterans go much farther when your act of kindness is seen by others. A revealing study found 70% of social media users would take action in response to a friend posting about a charitable donation. This can include a picture of your box of clothes or just talking about what donations for veterans can do for the good of the community. Every little bit helps with helping families in need.
2006 was a good year for charitable donations. Over two billion pounds of fabric were kept out of landfills and put back into local communities as useful resources. There is still plenty of good you can do when you dig around for unwanted leftovers. You provide thousands of people in your very own neighborhood the financial means of filling up their closets. You keep the environment clean of harmful trash and clear up the air. You can even tidy up your own life by giving your taxes some breathing room.
Doing good isn’t always hard. In fact, it can sometimes be the easiest thing in the world.