It’s spring again, and you’ve dragged a box from the basement for the family to put their old, unwanted clothes in. It’s a chore for the kids and an entire day of sifting through the closets for you, but when that box is full of your unwanted things, did you ever stop to think about who is going to need that box the most? To you, it’s just stuff to get rid of, but that box could be help for wounded veterans. With so many charities in need of your cast-offs, with so many poor, disabled or blind veterans waiting for the help that comes people’s donations, do you give much thought to which of the charities that pick up donations you’re going to call?
In war, our soldiers must follow orders. And often that leads them into the darkest places of the human condition, places where the most terrible atrocities occur. Our soldiers face death and mutilation. About 1.7 Purple Hearts have been awarded to soldiers wounded or killed in the military. If they make it out of these war-torn areas alive, there are almost always wounds; some psychological like post-traumatic stress disorder, some physical like a broken limb, some that will heal in time, and some, like blindness, that will be permanent. Far too often our heroes are not given the respect and help they deserve after their return. The national unemployment rate for veterans is actually 2% higher than ordinary citizens. For these suffering veterans, the holidays and the ‘thank you’s they receive are sometimes not enough. What keeps many of these veterans going and remains an important support for military families is continued help from organizations, like those charities that pick up donations.
If every new item of clothing contained the label “When no longer wanted, please donate,” then maybe the 12 million tons of clothing that gets discarded every year would be put to better use. Clothing fabrics make up 5% of our landfills. Why does this happen when the charities that pick up donations could put these clothes to much better use? The poor and needy definitely deserve your donations, but with 80% of America’s donated clothing going to towards the needy and funding for such organizations, veterans deserve their fair share of your cast-offs. If families knew how much their spring cleaning cast-offs could go towards helping military families, they might choose to call a military donations organization instead of just tossing them into the trash. Charities that pick up donations are ready and waiting.
How many of those clothes in your closet do you really wear? Can you fill that box a little bit more? Does your family know why our disabled or blinded veterans need your donations? Before you get rid of that box of cast-offs, think about the many charities that pick up donations, and choose one you know can feel good about. For many, this spring cleaning ritual is a chore, but for you, it can be an opportunity to help.