Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Regifting without Guilt? Splendid!

We've all done it.  You get a gift from someone that's very thoughtful but just not your style.  Maybe it's a scented lotion or candle that makes you sneeze or a scarf that washes out your skin tone.  So what do you do with it?  Either it sits in your house taking up space or collecting dust, or you re-gift it and hope the original giver doesn't find out.  Thanks to my fabulous Aunt Jennifer, there's a better idea.

Ten years ago, Jennifer started a nonprofit organization called Leave It For Love.  The premise is pretty simple: you donate new or gently used gifts (scarves, holiday decorations, etc.) to Leave It For Love, and they distribute the gifts to elderly people who may not have much family.  Though most of the donations are collected around the winter holidays, gifts are distributed throughout the year to recipients.

Here's what Jennifer has to say about Leave It For Love:

K: What inspired you to start Leave It For Love?

J: Ten years ago I was living in a very small studio apartment in the city and was overloaded with gifts and other assorted nice things that I wasn't able to make good use of.  Things like trinkets, tchotchkes, gift baskets, and so on.  I knew that there had to be a way to put these items to good use.  I recalled the older adults I used to work with when I was a social worker and decided to direct the gifts to them. 

K: Who receives the gifts that are donated?
J: We give the gifts to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly in Chicago.  The serve approximately 1,200 elderly, low income and oftentimes isolated residents in Chicago each year.  

K: How often are gifts distributed?
J: Throughout the year volunteers at Little Brothers make home visits to the elderly persons they serve.  They also host celebrations at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas along with smaller events including bingo and field trips.  Gifts are given out at all of these occasions.  

K: What kind of gifts are most appreciated?
J: Everything is appreciated including jewelry, socks, scarves, gloves, pajamas, slippers, holiday decorations, bath sets, perfume, household items and non-perishable food items.  Anything that would bring a smile.  We ask that the items be new or very gently used.  The only items we cannot accept at this time are are used clothing and books. 

K: Why should people donate?
J: Older adults are an oftentimes overlooked segment of our population.  Our program offers a simple way to bring a little joy to their lives!  Leave it for Love is easy on the pocketbook, good for the environment and great for the human spirit!  It involves very little time and no financial contribution.  By recycling gifts we are putting good energy out into the world and in a small way reducing over consumption.

Examples of appropriate donations

Leave It For Love is coming to Champaign-Urbana!  I will be collecting donations throughout the year starting immediately!  If you would like to make a donation, please contact me either via email at leaveitforlovecu at gmail dot com or by leaving a comment on this post.

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