I was only a week away from my departure to Siem Reap, but still had a lot of possessions I didn’t get rid of during my mass disposal. Everything I didn’t touch within last two years went to the garbage bin, along with everything I saw no immediate need for. However I still had a bunch of items I thought were very usable and could improve someone’s quality of life. I was out of time and wouldn’t be able to take care of it myself, so I started contacting one Edmonton based charity to see whether any accepted Merchandise Donations.
As it turned out, making monetary donations to charities is easy and vast majority of charities will have some mechanism in place to make it fast and convenient, however when it came to merchandise donations, things were vastly different. Most responses I got said that they did not have the manpower and/or the facilities to store merchandise donations and wouldn’t be able to accept them. However with each such response, I was provided more contacts on additional local charitable organizations which the person responding believed may be accepting merchandise donations. So I kept relentlessly sending emails or making phone calls until I got the first positive response stating that a person could come to my place with a van tonight to pick up just about everything from the list as it seemed I had a whole pile of usable items.
This was exactly the type of response I wanted to hear. A person who knows what they are doing and is able and willing to take immediate action. I formerly thought I would split the donations among several charities so people from various walks of life could benefit, but as I thought about it further, I came to realize that this type of thinking made no sense. All I wanted at this time was to make sure that my donations will make someone’s day. If just one person could feel like it’s their lucky day today because they got a pile of stuff from me, then it would be all worth it.
I had an estimated $8,000 worth of merchandise to give away. It included the following:
- Kitchen Ware – utensils, pots, frying pans, toasters, knives, etc.
- Books – all sorts from expensive photography tutorials, through dictionaries, all the way to fantasy tales
- Toys for Kids – I used to use those as photography props in the studio
- Electronics – TV sets, DVD players, stereos, etc.
- Leisure Items – skates, roller blades, backpacks, etc.
- Home Decor – curtains, lamps, chairs, bedding sheets, etc.
- Clothing – all sort of summer and winter clothing for all occasions
- Household Items – various pieces from toilet paper through screwdrivers to power drill sets, etc.
- …and a whole pile more
I realized that when you are donating, all you care about is to make sure that someone in need benefits. That’s why trying to split the donations would be contra-productive. How would I decide which items go where? It simply made no sense as a person here as well as a person there could benefit from it just the same. Great thing about charities is that there is no rivalry. There is no competition. There is only sincere desire to help those in need. At the end of the day, if person’s life is improved thanks to my donations, then it all made sense and was worth, regardless of where this person is form or how they got to the situation that they are in need of donations. Hence any attempt to try to find “the right charity” is contra-productive. There are only two types of charities – ones that truly give to those in need, or the corrupt ones that keep donations for themselves and only use people in need as store front to trick potential donors into donating for them believing the donation will go to those in need.
After I got an email back from Todd from One Child’s Village, I knew he was the right person to give all of my merchandise to. Their website speaks heaps about the work they do and I’ve been hinted by other charities that were no able to accept merchandise donations that One Child’s Village was a good charity to look into. On top of that – I like dealing with people who know what they want and are able to make decisions. Todd responded to my email promptly and got right to the point. He said: “It looks like your whole lot is full of useful items. I could take all of it. When is the best time for me to come with the van?”
How can you not love dealing with someone who doesn’t beat around the bush. There was no time to bounce emails back and forth. I needed to make this merchandise donation as soon as possible as I only had a few extra days left for everything else. Todd was at my place right after I got back from work and we loaded his van up full. This whole deal got taken care of within one day and without much hassle. But most of all – I knew my merchandise donations were in good hands.
One Child’s Village operates in Africa and these items would make their way to impoverished people in need and as I have said – if any of it could make the life of any person in need better, or even the day, then it was all worth it. For me personally – I no longer had any use for any of this. I was gonna leave the life dedicated to work and accumulation of possessions for the life of travel and volunteerism to find my place on Earth and do something I’d be proud to talk about when I get old.
After I have finalized my merchandise donation to the One Child’s Village charity, I was left with near empty apartment. Just the way I wanted it to be. With only a few days left until my departure, I only had a few things to take care of and one more big merchandise donation – my car.