It’s the holidays, and the time for giving is upon us. Everywhere, you can find organizations, as well as people like Ed Young, encouraging people to give to those less fortunate. Donating a t-shirt or couch to the Salvation Army or Goodwill can be like treasure to someone who really needs it. Unfortunately, what some people decide to donate are so strange they can’t even be used. Here are five oddities people are giving away:
Pets are also a common donation, but probably not in the most appropriate way. Cages with dogs, cats, or birds have been found by staff outside of donation centers. Most facilities don’t have the ability to take care of live animals and won’t take pet donations in person, so they’ll direct the person to the local Humane Society or pet shelter.
A good donation to consider is pet supplies. Many people have pets, even those with very limited income. Pet food, cages, beds, and toys are all good items to donate.
Donating cars requires some thought. People and organizations can often use vehicles to transport staff, supplies or other donated items from place to place. But, unfortunately, some donors use this as a way to get rid of cars that no longer run or are too expensive to repair. Some states will give tax credits for donating cars and can accept vehicle donations that Salvation Army or Goodwill are unable to. They can also give you some good ideas for re-purposing your car as well.
Not everything given is complete junk. Sometimes people accidentally give things away and want them back. A stack of cash might have been left in a pair of donated jeans, because, say, an angry wife gives away her husband’s treasured possessions. Or an antique or item with sentimental value is mistaken for junk. Most organizations try to give back the items, if possible, but it is often hard to track down the original donator.
Organizations have actually received funeral urns still containing the ashes. While the urn itself may be a useful item, the ashes inside are an obvious unwelcome extra. It’s likely the urns are received in boxes full of other items that have been dropped off without someone looking inside. If someone is getting rid of the assets of a person who is incapable, they may just be in a hurry to do something with a lot of packed boxes without knowing they just handed an old family member away.
Artificial Body Parts
Another odd donation is artificial limbs and other health care items like dentures. The intentions of the donors might be pure, but these items are useless to others since they’re made specifically to fit one person. Items like eyeglasses, canes, crutches, and wheelchairs are a much better option.
Most of the odd items given away will never make it to the shelves, so shoppers won’t get the chance to see some of the weird items that gets donated. NPOs, as well as local churches, or even a Megachurch like Young’s can prevent receiving useless donations several different ways. One method is to create a donation box or bucket that is geared for specific types of donations. For example, the Salvation Army makes sure they only receive cash at their kettles when they stand outside of the mall. Another method is to use signs for what specific type of donations they are looking for. Toys for Tots have bins and boxes where people can drop off toys, with signs that specify the toys are unwrapped. One final method is to create a list of acceptable donations. Churches sometimes send out newsletters with lists of possible types of donations. This is the time where many people are in the spirit of giving, and any useful donation that can make someone’s life better is very valuable.
by Devin Maslow
A fisherman, hunter and freelance writer, Devin has been writing for finance sites for five years. He’s still loving it.