Poverty is a real problem in America. In the city of Philadelphia, which has the worst poverty rate among the top 10 cities in the U.S., there are about 440,000 people who fall under the current federal poverty line. Of those residents, 39% , or roughly 171,000 people, are children. So how can the average citizen help without breaking their own bank?
One of the best ways to give back to your community and to your environment is through charitable donations. These don’t have to be monetary donations to be helpful, you can donate anything you own that is lightly used and may be useful for helping families in need. Food, clothing, furniture, toiletry items, books, all of these are things you may not use anymore that would mean the world to a child in poverty.
Charitable donations also help the environment- everything that goes to the less fortunate is something that stays out of a landfill. In 2011, textile and clothing donations totaled 2 million tons of fabric! Conversely, every year, about 12 million tons of clothing and textiles are thrown in landfills. Of that 12 million, a shocking 90% of it could have been recycled as a clothing donation.
So when looking at your old clothing and household items, how do you determine what makes the cut and what gets thrown away? First, look at the clothing with a critical eye. Is it ripped, torn, or stained? Hold onto it. If you have any baby items, these are always in high demand, but make sure that the product is not recalled or discontinued for safety issues. Call ahead to your chosen donation organization about things like furniture, computer monitors, or any item over 50 pounds. Some organizations will even pick up donations at your house, or assign a dedicated employee to help you clean out your space and determine what you can and cannot donate (for a small fee).
Thoughts? Ideas? Leave them in the comments.