Most people stuff old belongings into bags, pile them in the back of their car and drop them off at donation centers such as Goodwill or local thrift shops. But what happens to your donated items once they’re dropped off, and you drive away?
Your donations help the community in many ways. For example, donations to The White Dove Thrift Shoppe in Mesa, Arizona are sold to the community, and the proceeds help families afford hospice care for their loved ones.
Gracie’s Thrift Store donates their revenue from the used store items to Grace Community Church Global Outreach program. The store helps international students find affordable furniture, clothing and other materials needed for success. Also, their Global Outreach Program helps those in need find shelter, clothing and a safe environment to grow in the Tempe community.
It is safe to say that no harm can come from donating. One detail people forget about donating is that thrift stores need more than just clothing. Many thrift stores are extensions of charities, such as the St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores sprinkled throughout the valley.
These thrift stores are dedicated to providing the community with used items that many would otherwise be unable to afford. They accept used kitchen appliances, furniture, school supplies, linens and holiday decorations along with used clothing and accessories.
Consignment stores are also a great way to give back to the community while also making a bit of money for yourself. Stores such as Plato’s Closet and A Second Look allow you to bring in your gently used clothing and accessories to be sold on their floor. If your items meet the standards for resale, these stores will often give you compensation.
These consignment stores aren’t only a way for people to get a little extra money back on their used items, but they are also often partnered with charities to ensure that nothing goes to waste.
Usually these stores give items to charities when they have been on the shelf for too long. In addition, many consignment stores donate a fraction of their proceeds to various charities.
A Second Look partners with charities such as Phoenix Dream Center, which is a charity dedicated to providing homeless and low-income families with supplies to be successful and also The Birthday Club, an organization to end hunger.
No matter where your items end up, you’ll know that those bulky bags you just dropped off will benefit someone in need in a variety of ways.
Your donations matter.
The clothes you donate to a thrift store may not end up on the back of someone in need. More often than not, clothes that sit on the shelf for too long are donated to companies like Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles, or SMART. The companies then sort the clothes based on quality, and reuse them in the following ways:
- 45% is re-used as apparel, these items are processed into large bales of clothing, which are then exported to nations where there’s a demand for clothing.
- 30% is cut into rags and clothes.
- 20% is reprocessed into basic fiber content used to create furniture stuffing, carpet padding and various other products.
- 5% is unusable.
At Hidden Treasures Thrift Store in Chandler, AZ, it takes a volunteer staff of 64 to sort and organize donations.