With all the vim and vigor of the new season, many Granite Staters are embarking on a perennial endeavor—spring cleaning. This ritual can result in boxes of unwanted stuff.
Or so we think.
Our unassuming piles of cast-offs can actually be loaded with treasures. That old pair of eyeglasses could give clear vision to a guy in Ethiopia. Those mismatched towels could be a rescue puppy’s snuggie. Your old bike could carry a teenager to and from school. This spring take an extra moment to connect your unwanted items with a New Hampshire organization that can use them to do good locally or even globally.
With each new prescription, many of us leave a trail of old eyeglasses in our wake. Lions Clubs are working to get those glasses to clinics in impoverished nations. According to a Lions Club interview with Seacoast Online, the need for eyeglasses exceeds the donations they receive, so your contribution can really make a difference. To donate used sunglasses and specs, look for Lions’ collection boxes (notable locations include the Concord Sam’s Club and the Portsmouth Recycling Center) or connect with your local club through the NH Lions’ online directory.
Blankets & Towels
Surplus towels from your closet could provide comfort and warmth to animals at a local shelter. The NHSPCA collects small blankets and towels (used for bedding) in donation bins outside their Stratham location. The Humane Society of Greater Nashua’s wish list asks for gently used towels or blankets. And, the Pope Memorial SPCA in Concord is looking for washcloths. Check your local shelter’s website to see what they need.
Let’s Put People On Bikes refurbishes donated bikes and distributes them to organizations like the Nashua Soup Kitchen and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua. They’ll even pick up your old bike if you live in the Nashua area! On the project’s website, founder John Burkitt explains the difference a bike can make…“Most of our bicycles are given to adults and teenagers. The bikes are their primary transportation, enabling people to take jobs, go to the store, get to appointments, attend meetings, go to the library, get to shelters and visit family and friends.”
Exercise Equipment, Appliances, Paint, & Tools
Habitat for Humanity accepts donations of household items and building supplies at their ReStore shops. ReStores are located in Nashua, Plymouth, and Newington. For individual store info and a list of acceptable donations, visit the Habitat ReStore directory. Habitat for Humanity also has a warehouse store in Manchester that operates a few days a week. All proceeds from these stores go to support local Habitat projects.
Books, DVDs, & CDs
If you have used books or audio visual materials to get rid of, consider donating them to a public library. Libraries collect these items and then hold book sales to fund future programming. Books that are in good condition might even be added to your library’s shelves! If you’re not already acquainted with your local library, find it through the NH State Library Directory.
The non-profit NH Computer Technology Assistance Corps (CTAC) turns donations of old computers and electronics into usable systems. They wipe hard drives of any data using DoD and HIPAA compliant methods. Then they restore, refurbish, and relicense the machines and offer them to low income families, non-profits, and schools in New Hampshire on a cost-recovery basis. To see the full list of electronics CTAC re-uses, check out the list on their website.
Before heading off to make your donations, see if friends and co-workers have anything to add. Post on Facebook and invite others to join you in donating. Your old pair of glasses could turn into a box of donated spectacles…and clear sight for a lot of people! By mindfully donating your old items, spring cleaning can become a practice that benefits the people (and animals) in your community.