Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why is it so hard to give?

And I mean this literally.

We're replacing our refrigerator, washer, and dryer. They work perfectly, but are too small for our needs. They came with the house so I don't know how old they are. I bet that they aren't the youngest, shiniest things on the block, but they are completely, fully functional...down to the icemaker in the freezer and the moisture sensor in the dryer.

So we called a nonprofit to pick up the appliances. We don't want them to clutter a landfill before their time. Someone in need could use a refrigerator, washer, and dryer in perfect working order, right?

The first nonprofit is closing.

The second nonprofit...well, a guy actually...isn't taking them.

The third nonprofit, the Salvation Army, won't take any major appliances unless we can guarantee that they're under five years old. Seriously. So according to the wisdom of the Salvation Army, it's better for people in need to have nothing rather than perfectly functional, older appliances. Also, who donates nearly new appliances? I'd guess the very wealthy and folks who're getting rid of problematic, troublesome appliances. I guess it's better to take young lemons rather than older, functional models.

This isn't the first time that I've run up against this. During Katrina, I tried to donate my children's outgrown clothing for Katrina victims. These were name brand (and I'm talking Hanna Andersson and Gap here), perfectly good clothes. No stains. No holes. Hardly any wash wear, if any. Nonprofits working for Katrina victims would not accept them. They only wanted brand new.

I'm not saying that folks in need should accept and be grateful for shabby, run-down, barely functional things. Absolutely not. But it seems that even the world of nonprofits has been bitten by the consumerist bug. The idea that one should eschew the ten-year-old, beautifully tailored coat made of the very best materials for the au courant style, no matter its quality. That only new or nearly new is acceptable. Sad. And wrong.

And for those who wonder, yes, my children wear hand-me-downs. I gratefully accept them from my sister-in-law and friends with older children and even purchase from second-hand sources.

So. Does anyone know of a person who needs a refrigerator, washer, and dryer? They need to be able to transport them. We'll help load. Anyone?

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