My search began for places to donate stuff, and boy, did I get answers when I posted that question to the Greenbelters Facebook group. So here are the answers – so far. If you have more suggestions just leave them in a comment below.
THE WINNER IS
The most-recommended donation site, hands down, is Green Drop, which has a donation truck behind the Municipal Building every second and fourth Saturday from 9 to 12, or just call 1-888-944-3767 to schedule a home pickup. Green Drop donations benefit these causes: American Red Cross, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Federation of the Blind, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia.
One Greenbelter noted that “They even take torn, stained, beat up stuff, cuz they can recycle it (into upholstery, etc).” Good to know!
Lots more info about Green Drop here on the Greenbelt city website.
Also on that same city web page is info about donating to these groups:
- Vietnam Veterans of America in Wheaton (or they’ll pick up from your home).
- Habitat for Humanity (drop-off in Brentwood, or schedule a pickup).
- Salvation Army in Hyattsville (no pick-up in Greenbelt). There’s also Salvation Army’s “Family Store” in Hyattsville. Donations support the Adult Rehabilitation Center located there. Donations of clothing, furniture and other household items can be scheduled online at SATruck.org
- Purple Heart (pick up or dropping off in Laurel or Bladensburg).
- American Rescue Workers (pickup or dropoff in Capitol Heights).
- Goodwill (pick up or drop off in Laurel).
- Amvets (drop off in Laurel or call for pick up).
- Pregnancy Aid Center in College Park. (drop-off only).
SECOND PLACE GOES TO…
Several Greenbelters also recommend a charity called Wider Circle in Silver Spring, especially for larger items. From their website:
We redistribute furniture and home goods to individuals and families transitioning out of homeless situations or to those simply living without life’s necessities. Will pick up. Details. Takes professional attire, food, well-mother items.
One respondent wrote about Wider Circle that it “has job seminar classes, and takes business clothing from both genders. They will also take furniture in good condition. An excellent charity with professional administration and caring service. They are my first go-to charity.”
But speaking of work clothes, another recommended charity distributes them – Successful in Style in Laurel and elsewhere.
One person mentioned Community Forklift in Bladensburg, which accepts donations of “surplus, gently-used, and salvaged home improvement supplies.” When I renovated my kitchen they picked up the old cabinets and appliances and I love browsing their weathered old pieces for possible garden ornaments.
THRIFT SHOPS AND BAZAARS
I learned that several of my friends shop regularly at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church Thrift Shop, which is right here in Greenbelt and open every Thursday from 10 to 4. Everyone mentions the nice ladies who volunteer there and the super-cheap clothes worth wearing they regularly find there.One respondent wrote that she never misses the Mishkan Torah Rummage Sale, every November.
Also in the neighborhood, Greenbelt Elementary School has yard sales twice a year. Can anyone provide some details about them? Well known to all Greenbelters is their fabulous used book sale at the Labor Day Festival, with donation drop-offs during the week before.
2nd Avenue is a national chain of thrift shops, and the one in Laurel is popular among Greenbelters.
While you’re in the neighborhood you can also check out the Laurel Thrift Center.
There are several ways to find new owners for used items that aren’t strictly charitable, though people in need are often the first to respond and arrive at your home to pick up the items.
As I downsized to my new home in Old Greenbelt I gradually realized I needed smaller furniture and used Freecycle to give away these items, and more. (Tall cabinets for old-style TVs like this one are now often repurposed for other uses.) As the owner of two cats, I finally gave up on upholstered furniture in favor of wicker and eucalyptus, like the chair in the top photo. (I bought one too many.)
One of the Freecycle recipients of my furniture (this couch and a larger matching one, plus a coffee table) was a woman starting a new life post-divorce with absolutely no furniture. Gotta say it was really gratifying to meet her and her sons when they arrived with a truck. I agree with the Greenbelter who likes Freecycle because “It feels good to know that my stuff is going directly from me to someone who wants it.”
Freecycle Greenbelt is a Yahoo Group and easy to use – just read the instructions before posting.
AVOID THIS ONE
Not all charities are equally charitable, as I learned from several people who warned against using the Planet Aid donation boxes around town. Planet Aid is getting some bad press lately, apparently well earned. Charity Watch is on the case, which is surprisingly interesting, possibly cult-related.