Every month I take a phone call from someone who is clearly doing a spring clean or trying to empty…



I say this as someone who works at a nonprofit: the attitude “someone who has nothing will be grateful for anything” is harmful and dehumanizing when it’s used to justify donating something ripped, stained, or expired to someone less fortunate.

Homeless people deserve clothing with good structural integrity. Victims of house fires deserve linens that are free of stains. No one should have to eat expired food. It’s disrespectful to give people scraps when they’re already hurting.

Please, out of respect for your fellow humans, check the dates on your food donations before you drop them off.

Any half-decent charity will weed through donations and toss the stuff that’s unusable, which means you’ve made more work for them and benefited absolutely no one, because you think poor people should be content with your castoffs.

If at all possible, donate money. Money never expires and always fits. And charities often have ways to buy wholesale or otherwise much cheaper than you can, so a dollar goes a lot further for them than it will for you.

Also no one thinks about this but employees and rent and light bills gotta get paid somehow.

Every month I take a phone call from someone who is clearly doing a spring clean or trying to empty a deceased relative’s house and they want to get rid of stuff and while it’s nice they think of us, we can’t take your junk and no, we will certainly not come round and pick it up from you.

Only twice in the near decade I’ve worked in the charity sector has someone called with something in good condition that can be used/enjoyed and that they would arrange to bring to us and one time is was an upright piano and the other time it was flower arrangements that had just been used to decorate an event that morning.