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One way to fund the mission is through clothing drives. “It’s kind of a misnomer because we take household goods, small appliances, furniture and right now we are accepting non-perishable food donations as well,” said Kennard.
Those donations make up about a third of the organization’s operating funds. And provide real training for the people in need.
Some program participants might be trained for making donation calls; others may be trained for clothing pickup operations, and others might be trained for clothing care and distribution.
On Monday, several many who’ve been through the program unloaded a box truck full to brim with donated items.
The clothing donated is picked up on designated routes with pickups at homes scheduled in advance. Donors don’t have to be present at the time of the pickup. They will get receipt tax purposes, as the donations are tax-deductible.
“Even before the pandemic, our pickup operators wore gloves and often practiced ‘social distancing’ because many people left items on the porch or driveway labeled that they were for us to pick up,” said Kennard. “With people looking for things to do at home, we’ve seen the number of donations go up considerably.”
DeKalb County resident LaTonya Caston uses NSPIRE and several other charitable organizations regularly and appreciates the service they provide.
“They will be in my neighborhood in two weeks,” she said. “And I’ll be leaving items on my porch.”
She’s been working at home since July and uses her lunch breaks to do little projects around the house.
“I’ll clear out closets or clean the garage and just about every time they say they’ll be in the neighborhood I have something to donate,” she said. “I used to make a thousand trips to shelters and churches. It’s good to have someone come get my stuff.”
There are several nonprofits that provide similar services.
American Kidney Serives, Goodwill and Salvation Army offer residential pick-ups and drop-off sites. But with the coronavirus updates changing daily, AKS has temporarily suspended pickups.
“We have 50-foot trailers at the recycle centers in Snellville and Sandy Springs and they both are closed right now,” said Edward Zito, president of AKS. “People are throwing donations over the fence so we’re trying to make sure those areas don’t get overrun.”
Once his team works out the logistics of running the pickup routes, they’ll be back taking donations.
And in addition to accepting gently used items, American Kidney Services has a donation valuation guide on its website to help assess what each item is worth for tax purposes.
“I’m not one of those people who sits around talking about I’m bored,” said Caston. “It makes me feel good to do for others and get my house in order at the same time.”
It’s that win-win relationship that’s so carthartic for the giver.
“It’s nice to be able to see the basement floor,” chuckled Staples. “I found a few cracked tiles, so I’ll have another ‘honey-do’ project to keep me occupied. But I don’t mind — happy wife, happy life!”
Nonprofits seeking donations of gently used clothing, household items, etc.
American Kidney Services: akspickup.org or 855-702-5259
Atlanta Dress for Success: atlanta.dressforsuccess.org or 404-589-1177
CLEAR Coalition: clearcoalition.org or 404-761-6247
Goodwill: goodwillng.org or 404-420-9900
NSPIRE: nspireoutreach.org/nspire-clothing-drive.html or text HOPE to 84700
Salvation Army: salvationarmyatlanta.org