Tuesday, March 17, 2009

When giving gives a Fresh Start

For many people I know, “going green” isn’t just about buying a few select products. Instead, it seems to be part of an entire lifestyle overhaul that reflects on largely simpler and less chaotic living.

As part of that reduction of chaos in my life, I’ve been slowly paring back the “stuff” in my home over the last few years. I admit that I hate to get rid of things. What’s worse is this is a learned trait from my mother, who hung on to things for sentimental or other reasons. I still remember when I came home from the hospital when my daughter was born – and my parents greeted us with two moving boxes full of artwork, random items and paperwork from when I was a child.

Paper clutter aside, I’ve learned over the years that good things can find good homes. And while it’s easy to pass along outgrown baby clothing to an expecting friend, what to do with other things may not seem so obvious. Perhaps you’ve splurged on new dishes or furniture, or received an heirloom item and no longer need redundant items cluttering up your life.

That’s when donating good items to good causes makes sense. While many of us know about Goodwill, Salvation Army or AmVets, the reality is these items go to showrooms of randomness and may end up being severely marked-down castoffs. It’s great when looking for a random find, but not so great about getting things directly to people who could use them.

One cause I’ve held dear to my heart since moving to Indianapolis is Fresh Start of Indiana, a domestic violence organization that provides transitional services to families leaving the shelter. As having a stable homelife can help prevent victims from returning to their abusers, getting these families re-established with a home – not just an empty apartment – makes all the difference in rebuilding their life.

Fresh Start provides everything from bedroom furniture to kitchen supplies to clothing for these families. It helps nearly 100 women each year, which is an amazing feat, given that these are all donated items.

If you’re considering some serious spring cleaning or just want to give green, consider this untraditional way of caring by donating your unneeded things to causes that help families rebuild a home.

This month's APLS Carnival is focusing on ways we can give green. For more posts, visit Green Resolutions on March 20.


Corie said...

Hey, thanks for letting me know about this group! We just bought a new washer and dryer, and although the dryer was worthless, we still have a very good-quality washer just sitting in our garage. I have been planning on calling Sheltering Wings, a domestic violence shelter in Danville, but in the off chance they can't take it (sometimes they just don't have room to store big stuff like this for their clients until they need them for their own transitions), I'll definitely give Fresh Start a call.

CRH said...

What a great peice...made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I do give a lot to Salv. Army, but I am going to call around to see if there are some other places in my area that could make better use of my "junk" Thanks for the inspiration.

Steph @ Greening Families said...

What a fabulous way to help others in a meaningful way. Making any change is difficult so supporting others as they are making such a large change is truly helpful.

Lots of communities have similar groups so folks in other areas can lend this type of support as well. A map of domestic violence shelters is available at United States Domestic Violence Resources in case others are looking for groups to which they can donate.