3 Things You Should Never Give To Charity

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I love how we as a society have come up with so many ways and opportunities to help out our friends and neighbors, colleagues and even strangers who may be a little down on their luck.

There are food drives, clothing drives, fund raisers etc all aimed at collecting items from the ‘haves’ to share with the ‘have nots’. Sadly, the need outweighs the supply, but as good citizens we can all do our part to help each other out.

One way we can really help out, is by taking a close look at what it is that we give. Is what we’re giving truly something someone can use, or is it something we need to just throw away. Seriously, take a good hard look at that pair of shoes with the insoles peeled back, the sole worn down and the scuffs down the side and ask yourself, “Are these really better than nothing?”

We mean well, and perhaps we see a little bit of life left in those things that could use a little TLC, but we need to ditch the attitude that tells us our broken and worn out stuff would be a welcome gift to someone who doesn’t have anything. Because, let’s face it, our garbage is just that, garbage. So when you’re feeling to urge to purge, keep this in mind, 3 Things You Should Never Give to Charity

donations for charity

3 Things You Should Never Give To Charity

1. Torn and / or Stained Clothes

If you are not going to wear it, why should anybody else? Just because someone is down on their luck, doesn’t mean they need to dress in rags. I think the majority of us have at least two perfectly fine articles of clothing tucked away somewhere. Why not donate those instead? Do you have something that has a stain you can’t seem to get out? Take it to the cleaners. If they can get the stain out, awesome! Now you can keep it for yourself, or donate it now that it looks brand new again. What about those pants that have a broken zipper and a tear? Fix it or forget it. Try a seamstress or tailor if it’s out of your skill set and voila! You can donate the professionally repaired items to the people who don’t have the  time or money to do it for themselves.

2. Broken Anything

There are few things more depressing, frustrating and aggravating then trying to use a broken kettle to boil water because you can’t afford to buy a new one. Imagine the tears and sadness from the families who rely on the kindness of others when it comes to birthday’s or holidays. The families that can only afford to get their kids the broken toys someone donated to the thrift shop. Picture your own children on their birthday, and imagine their reaction to getting a puzzle that was missing pieces,  or a wagon with a broken axle. If when you come across one of your possessions and you say to yourself, “Well, it’s better than nothing,” and, ” Someone could fix it” lemme just say, no. If it doesn’t do what it is intended to do, it is not better than nothing. Also, if someone can fix it, let that someone be you. Again, hire a repair person if it is beyond your abilities, and give the now working and functional item to those who need it.

broken toy

3. Food That YOU Won’t Eat

That’s just rude. If you had to shop at the food bank for your meals and toiletries, how would you feel if the only things on the shelf were boxes of crackers that are sure to be as delicious as cardboard and cans of some horribly slimy (is it even a vegetable?) concoction? And before you say, ” Well, it’s better than starving,” consider for a moment: is it really? Faced with absolutely nothing left to eat but a can of slimy beans, that you aren’t really sure are even beans…would forcing yourself to eat it be better than starving? I imagine you’d actually have to try it to know for sure.

If It Is Not Good Enough For You Throw It Out.

People who are down on their luck do not need your garbage. They need your help. We all want the same things.  Comfortable clothes that look nice, the necessary working tools and appliances to get through our day, and nutritious and pleasant food to eat. It’s fabulous that you have decided to donate some of your surplus goods to those who need it, but please, give kindly, responsibly and respectfully.

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  1. The writer of this article does not know what she is talking about. When I was a child my divorced mother did not have much money and we shopped at thrift stores all the time. There were gently used clothing that pieces that I still remember fondly as being my favorites and if this writer had it her way I would have never seen those pieces in the store. Also slightly broken toys (not destroyed mind you) are like mana from heaven in a thrift store, a kid can get a whole bag of dinged toys for a dollar or two. What kid wouldn’t want that? Don’t think for a minute that someone out there adult or child won’t appreciate your second hand clothing, toys or home wear.

    1. Exactly, slightly broken not destroyed. And if the toy is slightly slightly broken, why not take a few minutes to fix it yourself before giving it away. Think of how much more pleasant the thrift store shopping would be if everybody only donated like new or gently used stuff. Save the torn and broken things for the recycling and upcycling programs. Don’t think for a minute that the writer of this article doesn’t know what she is talking about. You may have a different opinion, you may not be rude.

  2. I strongly disagree with the torn/stained clothing. Those items should be bagged separately & labeled rags. Many charities sell their rags by the pound to places that use them, thereby still benefitting the charitable works.

    1. It goes without saying that if the charities in your area have the programs to deal with the recycling / upcycling quality stuff by all means, donate appropriately. Please check first, as many don’t.

  3. The writer is obviously white and privileged. Get over yourself. If you think the needy don’t want a t shirt because it’s a bit stained your obviously nice and warm and clothed.

    1. Clearly from the writer’s photo you can tell that she is white and you can read her bio and known that she likesto work in the garden. You also know that my name is Evelyne, but you don’t know anything else about me, and if you have a point to make – make it without being rude. And yes, I actually do appreciate a stained t-shirt. However if I were to be getting one from a charity I would feel a lot better about it if the person who donated it atleast washed it first. Imagine how much better the accepting charity experience would be if people ONLY donated quality like new or gently used items

  4. Completely a first world argument. In a third world country, or war savaged country, a old, stained, warm winter coat, is seen as just a warm winter coat.

    1. Curiously, why not wash the stains out before donating it though?

  5. I hate our throw away society. While I agree that there is definitely a time to throw it out (and I do), my definition of trash and someone else’s is very different…I’ve been very happy getting a treasure that someone else thought was trash. Discernment is important, but I don’t agree with this article fully…yes, some would be happy to have a warm coat that was stained and/or “out of style” on a cold night, rather than it sit in a landfill.

  6. Being mindful of the feelings of others is crucial when donating or offering help. Respect their sense of dignity and give them some pride with that donated winter coat or pair of jeans. Why drag them down even farther when you can lift them up? Each year, I go to the local department store and snap up last season’s children’s coats and donate several to the local Salvation Army so that some children can go back to school with brand new coats they will be proud of.

  7. Actually the torn and stained stuff is what my local op shops are crying out for. They turn them into rags and sell those on to the mechanic inclined in the area for grease rags. The buttons and zips are sold in the shop as notions. Food I won’t eat has a rather large list. But I have Asperger’s Syndrome so good issues are many. I get given things as a gift, fruit cakes and puddings at Christmas for example, ginger biscuits that I’m sure are lovely but I just don’t eat those. Earl grey tea bags, tea bags that aren’t the brand I drink but are fine for those who aren’t stupidly fussy (I don’t drink Lipton tea but everyone around me seems to). Broken toys in our local op shop have their own bin labelled as such and the art students and artists who are always around clean that out regularly, then the shop owners tend to use that money to buy whole toys for kids.

  8. Sorry but this is not true. Old clothes also cost money. Charities resell them for recycling. And broken things can be a treasure for somebody. Same about the food as tastes differ.

  9. Great points Evelyne.
    Here in Australia, we have some organisations that collect worn and torn clothing which they either sell as is (minus buttons and zippers) to factories to use as rags or they send them off to be converted into a recycled cloth that is used for rags and other purposes. They then bag up any buttons etc and offer them for sale.

    1. Great idea! Worn and torn clothing makes great rags! And are good for up cycling into lots of things!

  10. Actually with the flood victims in West Virginia these idea would be fine! They lost everything! I am a native of West Virginia, quite close to where the victims are actually, and I would take anything I could if I had these problems! May God Bless The Victims!

    1. Disaster Relief is a different thing all together. Still I think it is better to give useful quality items, rather than trash. 🙂

      1. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. I hate our throw away society.

    2. Actually in disaster situations… It is even MORE helpful NOT to send clothing and stuff animals and all of “those items” you deem as worthy. With a disaster situation there is too much stuff sent right away and there is no where to put it. To the people in need they have no where to take it. It just ends up being a whole other mess that has to be cleaned up and sorted through and handled by a volunteer that could be doing other helpful things. FIND a LOCAL non-profit and contribute money to them to help those in need after/during the shock. The Red Cross is good but unfortunately, the folks in that community will not see the funding after they have moved on to the next disaster. Look Local instead of World or National get the help to where your intentions are meaning to help in the first place.

      1. Excellent excellent points! Thank you Laura

      2. Honestly, I am shocked at what people sell at Garage Sales, let alone what they give to Good Will. I am an of the opinion that you should give good stuff too, not just your crap!

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