Donate New Shoes?

Earlier this month, I had a not-unheard-of experience with an online transaction.  The athletic shoes I ordered were the right style, but a few sizes too small.  Major warehouse fail.

The shoes are neither cheap nor terribly expensive.  I decided against sending them back to ask for a replacement because there are options for donating new shoes.  Just between us, I also assumed donating them would be easier than sending them back.  I can be such a naive little creature.

Thrift shops are the most convenient answer, but I also thought of real-life horror stories of patients being released from the hospital without shoes.  Their situations are urgent, so donating to a hospital was something to consider.

Last Friday — one week ago — after getting the runaround on the phone — I was connected to a hosptial department which, in theory, could answer my question about donating a new pair of shoes.  The person I spoke with took my phone number and said someone would call back with an answer.

I haven’t heard from them.  Maybe they’re busy handling donations which amount to more than one pair of footwear.  However, emergency rooms all over San Francisco treat the homeless, and I hope that particular hospital isn’t out of shoes they can give to destitute people who are admitted wearing paper bags on their feet.

I tried looking at a website for another hospital, and when the website didn’t answer my question I decided not to risk going through the same crapola on the phone.

I ruled out taking the shoes to a homeless shelter because of the potential for ill will if one client is given something nice by the staff and others become envious.

A few months ago, I did donate a package of women’s socks to a homeless youth agency.  However, as a general rule it’s best to donate money to homeless shelters or find out if they have an Amazon Wish List.

(Note:  In San Francisco, Community Thrift Store on Valencia Street benefits multiple charities, helping humans and animals.  When you donate goods you can tell them which nonprofit will receive proceeds.  I haven’t been in that store in years, but last time I looked they kept transactions organized by issuing numerical codes for nonprofits.)

In September, Sleep Train stores in California will be holding a shoe donation drive for foster kids.  The shoes I’m trying to give away are size 5-1/2, so somewhere there’s a young girl who can wear them — and, I hope, enjoy the pink trim.

We can’t always sort everything we want to give away and designate a recipient for each item.  Thrift stores are great for taking things off our hands, making them available to customers on a budget and using the proceeds for something good.  Textiles recycling bins are way better than the garbage can for worn out fabrics.  However, when we have something ideal to share with a stranger who is in a jam, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a way to do it.

While I look forward to the September shoe drive, one of the local thrift stores should be able to handle other things which presently grace my apartment.  Cheap but fun sunglasses, a few books and a Despicable Me Fart Blaster will provide a rewarding shopping experience for bargain hunters.

I’d like to hear about your experiences donating, sharing, getting rid of crap or whatever you want to call it.  Please use the comment section below.  I have to approve comments manually, so it may take a while before your comment appears.

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