Avoiding Goodwill, but where else to donate?
A few months ago I learned that Goodwill Industries ships a large percentage of its donated clothing overseas. (More on this here and here.) The clothing is sold in marketplaces, thus displacing native textile workers because residents of these countries prefer the cheaper 'American' clothing. I have a problem with this, so I decided to stop donating our used clothing to Goodwill. It's not limited to Goodwill; I think the Salvation Army and other big thrift stores do the same thing. I don't know what they do with all the other stuff they receive (furniture, household accessories, toys, etc.) -- do they ship it all over the place, too? I know these organizations do provide important services to populations in need, but they are big-money operations. There's a Goodwill drive-thru drop-off about five minutes from my home, and while it is soooo convenient I just can't bring myself to do it. So now I'm faced with tracking down multiple organizations and making several trips.
(Oh, poor me. Wah. I'm so inconvenienced because I have so much stuff that I want to get rid of. Where does it come from? Why do we own so much stuff? Being faced with the (seemingly arduous) task of getting rid of it makes me want to stop buying stuff period!)
Here are some local organizations that serve people in the Portland area:
Community Warehouse (N. Portland): Furniture, kitchenware, mattresses, basic household goods like sheets, towels, blankets, alarm clocks, etc. go directly to people in need in the Portland area community.
Portland Impact (SE): Gently used furniture, household items, clothing for children and adults, sheets, towels, blankets. Ninety-nine percent of items donated stay in the community (the other 1% are unusable items). They have a large facility where they store donations for people transitioning out of homelessness.
Helping Hands Community Store (SE): Clothing for all ages; strong need for men and women's professional clothing. Provides worksite training to area residents who get to shop for free in the store.
Free Geek (SE): This is an easy one: working and non-functional computers and electronics. Trains individuals in need to work on various aspects of refurbishing or recycling computers in exchange for a free computer. Everything they do and stand for is so good.
Dress for Success (NE): Women's professional, interview-appropriate clothing and accessories. Helps disadvantaged women prepare for the workplace. I think they are really picky about what they'll accept (extra large sizes seem to be in high demand) so hopefully the donated clothes are going to people in the area.
Children's Relief Nursery (N. Portland): Baby and children's clothing (to 5T), baby furniture and gear, toiletries, diapers, books and crafts. (After I dropped off a bunch of stuff here I was told that they don't have much storage and anything they can't use right away gets taken to the Salvation Army. Sigh.) They offer therapy, parenting classes and home visits to at-risk area families.
Finally, there's the Web site Donors Resource that matches the items you need to donate with various metro-area organizations. I can't seem to find an organization (beyond Goodwill & Co.) that will take toys and stuffed animals. Do you know of any? Any other charitable organizations you like donating used items to?