The Transylvania Times -

By Rev.Shelly Webb
Sharing House Diary 

Fall Cleanup Is A Mixed Blessing For Nonprofits


This is what Sharing House volunteers found last Monday morning. Items left unprotected are at the mercy of the elements, and often must be hauled to the landfill. The bins were packed to overflowing and had to be dug out by volunteers, who would much prefer to help unload cars and trucks during business hours. (Sharing House photo)

August is a big month for most families in Transylvania County. Vacations are winding down, camps have closed for the summer, and the last ovation has been delivered at the music center.

We can hear the collective sighs of parents as the bus carries the kids off to school; another summer is in the books!

This is a turn of season that merges the excitement surrounding new school activities with the restoration of order after weeks of Summertime chaos. It's a great time for cleaning out the basement, the garage and the closets.

At the Sharing House, we know when these monumental household changes happen because we are fortunate to receive some of the donations that come from them - the outgrown clothes, the pool towels, shoes and food that has been collecting in the pantry.

Of course we are grateful for donations. Without them we have nothing to share. Sometimes, though, these blessings are burdens.

Here is the point: our donation box is overflowing. This is not to say we don't want your donations. We do. But this is the time of year when some unload their trash upon our nonprofit agencies. Many items must be hauled away at great cost because they are inappropriate, out of date, worn out, broken or unusable.

Sharing House specializes in necessities: food, seasonal clothing and essential household items like pots and pans, sheets and blankets, and so on. With only 5,000 square feet of building space, we are packed to the ceiling all year.

Here is how you can help us make the best use of your donations to assist neighbors in need:

•Be sure the clothes you are donating are in season. Now is a good time to donate fall and winter clothes, coats, hats, boots and scarves. Spring is the time for short sleeves, shorts and light dresses. Blue jeans and children/youth clothes are always desirable.

•Make donations when the agency is open. After-hour donation boxes fill quickly and it's hard work emptying them. Our volunteers are glad to help you bring your donations into the building, away from rain and bugs.

•Be sure the agency you are donating to can take whatever it is you want to donate. For example, the Sharing House does not take furniture, medical equipment, out-of-season clothing, paintings, Christmas trees, televisions, exercise equipment or computers. Other agencies with thrift stores can perhaps take those donations. But call first!

•Please do not use nonprofit agencies as a dump. Just like it costs money to dump broken TV's and printers at the county landfill, the same is true when agencies have to take time to take your broken and soiled items to the landfill.

•When donating food, come during business hours. We cannot take food items left outside our doors. We most prefer canned items that have not passed their expiration dates. We cannot take opened food items.

•Call ahead if you are unsure about the donation and the agency can best direct you to the right place. It will save you and our volunteers valuable time.

As always, thank you for your generosity and for your compassion for our neighbors in need!

(Webb is the executive director at Sharing House.)


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