LEGIT BINS?? "What about those donation bins I see in parking lots?" Great question! Some of those bins are legitimate charities that either donate or recycle what they receive and do good with the donations. Some do not offer total honorable disclosure about their processes. They also may be keeping the income from selling the used clothing to poor countries overseas without the typical commitment to funneling the profits to helpful programs in those communities. My advice is to stick with organizations you know and trust, donate to a local church or shelter when in doubt, or commit to the extra distance and drive to groups you know operate with integrity and transparency. Those random bins may be convenient but are they all conscientious? I'm including a link to a great article from the Philly Inquirer about a bin problem in our area. http://articles.philly.com/2015-02-17/news/59200797_1_bins-goodwill-industries-north-philadelphia Take An Extra Bag to a charity you know and trust. If you need help finding a charity, drop me a line!
VACATION RECOMMENDATION: No time to donate while on vacation? Drop off some supplies to help out in the areas you enjoy most with your vacation. Animal shelters need towel, blankets, safe toys, food, litter, etc. Or drop off a basket of fresh fruit to thank the volunteers for their commitment and time. Pay it forward, give back to the towns that welcome you, lead by example for your kids, leave a place better than the way you found it! Take An Extra Bag on vacation - it's not as hard as it seems!
VACATION RECOMMENDATION: Rainy/extra hot day on vacation? Schedule a few hours with a local charity! Great options especially with kids is to connect with an animal welfare organization and spend time "socializing" the animals waiting for forever homes. Send an email or call the local welfare leagues and please be patient for a response. These organizations are primarily run by volunteers and often don't have all the hands on they could use. Give back to the towns that welcome you on vacation! Take An Extra Bag! It's easy as peach pie!
Long talk with some great friends. The question was, "Should I give money to the person begging on the street/at the traffic stop/at the store?" Our hearts want to help, feel like we ought to especially if we see this person outside in adverse weather conditions. But, I was reminded today that the $5 you give that one person can actually go farther if you gave it to the local shelter. That $5 might feed 3 people one meal, put food in the bellies of a couple of children, cover healthcare supplies for a few people - or - it's $5 for just one person. One friend keeps $1.00 gift certificates to a fast food chain along with a business card from the local shelter with them at all times. If they encounter someone in need, they offer them one of each - an immediate opportunity to get a bite to eat or a cup of coffee as well as the contact info to the closest shelter for more all encompassing help. Another friend has committed to offering transportation tokens along with the shelter business card facilitating getting that person to the help they need. What ideas do you have? What practices do you follow when helping those who are often literally at our feet begging to be seen? Keep up the compassionate work!
SUMMER VACATION RECOMMENDATION #4: Friends and family gathering this weekend? Have everyone write a note to our men and women in uniform stationed overseas! Place colored index cards, poster board for the kids, or homemade thank you notes on a table with pens and markers for each guest to write personal notes. Pop all those notes in a manilla envelope and send them off to any of the following: www.operationcarepackages.org , www.operationgratitude.com ,www.operationshoebox.com , http://operationstarsandstripes.org/
Celebrate independence day by thanking the brave men and women preserving everyone's freedom and safety. Take An Extra Bag and reach out to those who deserve it most! Your guests will love this idea!
Kari Stiles, RN, BSN, WCCN, CRRN. Philadelphia Metro Area, Pennsylvania.