Working at Big Bank has its perks – free bank account, comfy chairs, no customers – but one of the best perks has to be their volunteer program. They give each full-time employee 16 hours a year to volunteer at a charity of their choice, anytime during normal business hours. You can use that time however you like, whether 8 hours in a single day or spread out over a few days.
My team has previously volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House, baking goodies for the families with seriously ill kids, but I wanted to do some volunteering on my own. I found VolunteerMatch.org – a site that lets you find local charities based on what you’re passionate about (puppies, kitties, faith, hunger, etc.), and once you find a charity, you can send the charity a message directly and BOOM!
I found Note in the Pocket – an organization dedicated to providing clothing for underprivileged/impoverished children in my county. Since we like to sponsor a couple of Salvation Army Angels each year, this seemed like a good fit.
Plus, I’m not allowed to volunteer at animal shelters – something about me bringing home animals? Children’s charities are OK, because I can’t quite bring home a child. I think.
When I arrived this morning, the first thing I saw (besides an adorable puppy) were rows and racks of clothing – all neatly folded, organized, labeled, and so on. I was given a tour of the facility, and damn, I was impressed. Let’s see if I remember everything correctly.
Out of 171 schools in the county, 136 receive clothing from Note in the Pocket. 79.5%. In the month of October, they received 27,000 pounds of donations, and 45,000 pounds another month (I can’t remember which one). After a social worker/etc. notifies Note in the Pocket of a child in need, NitP gather a week’s work of clothes not only for that child, but for their immediate family.
Charities like Note in the Pocket are extremely picky about the clothing they provide their children. Anything that does not meet their criteria is donated to a local shelter for immediate usage.
Donated shoes and clothing will be processed and evaluated for suitability to our use. If they are found unsuitable they may be given to another nonprofit group, recycled, or sold by Note in the Pocket to further our mission. — straight from the source
After seeing the varied things people donate to a kid’s clothing charity (a pot, really?), I’ve put together some tips for donating clothes:
- Wash your clothes before donating them. Seriously.
- Used socks, underwear and lingerie are best thrown out, no one is going to want to wear them after you.
- If it’s so torn up that you couldn’t wear it, don’t donate it.
- Donate appropriate clothing – no sexxy time clothes, please.
- Don’t tie the knots too tight on the bags (bags can be reused).
- Use common sense (that one is a bit hard).
- They always need men’s clothing.
Some charities are fine with small stains and rips, while others want nearly-perfect clothing. Each charity has different criteria and different goals, so call or visit their website before donating to see if your clothes fit their needs.
Additionally, H&M has a program called Closing the Loop where they will give you 10% off your next purchase if you donate used clothing. They accept all kinds of clothing – even unwearable stuff, and what can’t be reused/recycled is turned into insulation.
So, back to my original story, I had a blast at Note in the Pocket. The people who work there are awesome, there’s a guard-scaredy-cat named Sloan, the other volunteers were fun to talk and joke around with, and I got the warm fuzzies.
What’s in YOUR donation wallet?
Have I made you feel guilty yet? What about now? Now? Come on, you know you want the feels.