Clean Out Your Closet And Help A Charity
By Connie Adair
February 21, 2017
When you clean out your closet (or your whole house), the "donate" pile can get pretty big. But there's no need to worry about lugging everything to a donation centre. Clothesline will send a truck right to your door to pick up your gently used clothing, electronics and small household items for free. The proceeds will go to the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) to support its research, education and advocacy programs.
Each year, Clothesline, a national Canadian program, raises more than $10 million and diverts more than 100 million pounds of clothing and household items from landfill sites across the nation, something else donors feel good about.
The CDA started the program in 1985 as an innovative way to raise funds while making a positive impact on the community, says Janelle Robertson, general manager of Clothesline, one of the longest running programs of its type in North America.
In addition to clothing, the donations accepted for pick-up include towels, draperies, shoes, dishes, cloth items, post secondary textbooks, kitchenware and toys. The not-accepted list includes large appliances, sofa beds, newspapers and food.
Clothesline has more than 110 trucks that pick up at 1.7 million households each year across Canada, Robertson says.
The organization also has more than 3,000 clothing donation boxes, as well as 30 offices or donation centres where items can be dropped off.
Clothesline solicits donations, picks them up and delivers them to Value Village stores. Value Village pays for the volume of goods delivered. The two organizations have enjoyed an exclusive mutually beneficial partnership since Clothesline's inception. By having a business arrangement with Value Village, the CDA receives much-needed funds to support its programs and supplement the monetary donations it receives directly from the public.
"Our relationship with Value Village is longstanding and we would not be able to raise $10 million annually to support those living with, or at risk of diabetes, without their support," says Robertson. "We grew the Clothesline program quite quickly because we recognized this partnership as an opportunity to generate revenue though a social enterprise. Our growth followed Value Village."
Donors can drop off reusable items at a Clothesline Donation centre or donations box, or by scheduling a free household pickup online or by calling toll free at 1-800-505-5525).
"By donating directly to Clothesline, CDA receives proceeds from Value Village. It does not benefit from items dropped off directly at Value Village," says Robertson.
In addition to support from individuals, the Clothesline program needs help from corporations, local businesses, schools and communities.
"You can help by becoming a drop box host, sponsoring a community clothing drive, becoming an apartment/condominium building pickup co-ordinator or arranging for your business or school to conduct a clothing drive on our behalf," CDA says.
Through the In The Bag program, schools, clubs and communities across Canada can raise funds for trips, equipment or other projects. Clothesline pays for each garbage bag (67L) of clothing collected.
Clothesline will provide step-by-step guidelines, a list of acceptable items, a checklist and tips to make your In The Bag event a success.
Furniture is accepted at only specific locations, so if it is not collected in your area, there are other options. Furniture can be donated to other charities, such as the national organization, Furniture Bank.
Another option is the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It accepts "gently used" clothing and household items and in some locations it offers a pick up service for larger items. The organization says that for sanitary, health and safety concerns, it is unable to accept donations of used mattresses and box springs, used carpets, hazardous materials (such as paints), propane tanks, barbecues, infant equipment (such as car seats, cribs and strollers), tires and auto parts.
The Salvation Army supports many programs and services including food banks, shelters, children's camps, addiction treatment facilities and other community programs. It says it is Canada's largest non-governmental provider of social programs. Visit https://thriftstore.ca/ for the closest location.
Some Canadian cities, such as Calgary, offer a municipal textile recycling service. City landfill facilities there have Throw ‘N' and Go areas where residents can dispose of used clothing and textiles, even if they are damaged.
"If the item isn't reusable, it can still be recycled," says the City of Calgary website. "Textile recyclers turn old clothing, shoes and fabrics into new products. Materials are sorted, cleaned and can be turned into wiping rags or shredded down for upholstery stuffing or fibre recycling."
All proceeds from the revenue of the recycled textiles support the charity Haiti Arise.
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