It’s been a little over a month since our mama passed away.  We’ve made a lot of headway in settling her affairs, and we’re thankful for the strength that has to have come from the Lord in our ability to push forward when sometimes we want to just crater.  I’ve relied on the “matching” skills Mama taught me when I was a little girl — grouping like “things” together — a stack of boxes full of photos here, a stack of boxes full of crystal and glassware there, moving all the clothing to a single closet until it can be sorted through.  The photos have now been moved to my house, since Mama said I would more than likely become the family archivist.  My sister and I have divided the crystal and such — things I wanted, things she wanted, and things we think different family and friends would like to have as mementoes of our mama.

In the middle of all this sorting and dispersing, there have things suitable for donation and a couple of days ago I took four extra large gift bags containing neatly folded dresses to the Salvation Army.  These were dresses from her closet that were still in good condition, as well as two pairs of shoes that had never been worn.  Mama always had a high regard for the Salvation Army, and so we thought she would be pleased if we donated things we didn’t plan to keep to them.

I have to confess, I was a little startled when I noticed that the Salvation Army in Freeport had posted signs on either side of the driveway that stated “NO DUMPING”.  No dumping?  In years past, I have dropped off a bag or two of gently used clothing by the backdoor when no one was available to accept the donation.  But I never thought of that as dumping.

Did you know that when people drop off/dump items that are in poor condition, the Salvation Army has to pay to get rid of it?  I mean, think about it.  Anyone who has a trash can outside their house pays a trash collection bill each month, and if they have more than one can, they pay a higher rate.   So it makes sense that the Salvation Army probably pays for trash collection and the more trash they have to get rid of, the higher the monthly bill.  When people drop off things that aren’t worth having, that have no “life” left in them, it defeats the purpose of a “charitable” contribution, don’t you think?

I’m pretty sure that the things I’ve donated in the past have still been usable.  I’ve looked at t-shirts, jeans, and the like and thought “if I fell on hard times and needed to buy some clothes at a thrift store, would I be ashamed to wear this?”  If the answer is ever “yes,” the item goes in either the rag bag or the trash can.

I challenge each of you to donate with a conscience and with love.  Don’t dump worn out items that you’d be embarrassed to wear if you didn’t have other options available to you.  The Salvation Army does a lot of good work and the money earned from items donated to their thrift stores helps to fund that good work.  Statistically more of a Salvation Army dollar goes toward helping people than just about any other charitable organization out there.  So make sure you help them achieve the highest return for your donations so they can continue the good work they do wherever a Salvation Army exists.

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