Friday, December 23, 2016

Ship Goodwill donations for free if you can't drop them off

I'm not sure how green this actually is, in terms of using up a box and taping it up and printing a label and all that rather than just walking over and dropping off donations in overflowing trash bags like we tend to. But for people who live in rural areas, or who can't always leave loved ones to do errands, or aren't physically able to get out as much as they'd like, Give Back Box sounds pretty great. It's definitely better than tossing perfectly usable items in the trash, which I see far too many people doing.

How it works is: You put your things in any box you have lying around (they're partnered with businesses like Amazon and REI that are specifically encouraging people to use their boxes for this purpose, but it can be any box), print a label from their site, and arrange for UPS/USPS to come get it. It then gets shipped to Goodwill.

In terms of Goodwill Industries, I am aware that the charity is problematic in some ways. Their stores are run as a sheltered workshop program, which means that individuals with significant disabilities are paid less than minimum wage to sort, tag, wash, and display merchandise. Employees with a higher level of independence get paid minimum wage to work the cash registers and interact with the public. Some disability advocates believe that no one should be a subminimum wage, even people with severe disabilities who aren't able to work without constant supervision and assistance, who would be watching movies all day in an adult daycare program if sheltered employment wasn't available. Other advocates have raised concerns that Goodwill continues to pay some folks a subminimum wage even after they've progressed and have demonstrated that they can complete a typical amount of work with minimal extra support. Be aware though that a hoax post is going around stating that Goodwill is a for-profit company and the CEO makes $2.3 million per year, and this information is not in fact accurate. They are a nonprofit and Charity Navigator rates them highly.

In the Boston area, if you are able to donate in person, or you have a donation large enough for them to send a truck, I would suggest donating to Boomerangs. They support the AIDS Action Committee and are completely legit. Their website also has a list of charities where you can donate items that thrift stores don't take. But if you have a smaller amount of items and would otherwise be putting them in the trash, please check out Give Back Box and help those items get reused by struggling families instead of ending up in a landfill.

No comments:

Post a Comment