Weighed Down by Donations

My husband got a new winter parka last month, and I was excited at the prospect of being able to donate his old one. It was in excellent shape and I knew there were people in need of warm winter wear.

For years, I’ve been donating our unwanted winter coats to the New York Cares Coat Drive. Every winter, they put donation boxes in stores all over New York City. There was one in the paint store one block away from me, which made it very convenient.

However, thanks to Covid-19, the coat drive was working differently this winter. There were no donation boxes. Instead, you had to bring the coat to one of their donation partners, which were listed on the website. None of them were within walking distance, but I was willing to take a train there. The website suggested calling before dropping in, to make sure they still needed coats.

I spent a couple of days calling a few of the donation partners, but all I ever got was call sequencers and answering machines. I reached out to some colleagues and neighbors for ideas, but those didn’t pan out.

Finally, I put the newly-laundered parka in a shopping bag and walked it around the corner to the nearest thrift shop while I was walking my dog. The bag was surprisingly heavy, and I was glad to hand it off to the nice staff member at the thrift shop and leave empty-handed.

The weight of that donation was symbolic to me. I have often urged my clients that it’s not so important to find the perfect recipient for every donation. What’s important is to get it out of your house and in the hands of someone who wants it. When I handed off that bag, I realized that I had not been taking my own advice. In trying to find the perfect recipient, I was creating stress for myself and holding on to something that needed to be on its way to keeping somebody warm.

Do you have potential donations sitting in your home waiting to be matched with the perfect recipient? Don’t be weighed down by donations the way that I was. Move that stuff along. You’ll be surprised how much relief you feel.

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