About a month ago, I went to New York City.
I loved it. I love urban environments – the honking doesn’t annoy me as much as I feel that it should and the constant wave of new people walking around with cameras and pointing fingers make me smile instead of causing me annoyance. That being said, it felt weird sometimes walking or waiting by people with cardboard signs. It was a constant psycological war. One one hand, they needed help, and who was I with my Nine West purse and my LOFT shirt to judge or hold some place in society above them? Why did I have the financial luck and they have none? Yet, turn a corner, walk down a block, and there was some other person with a dog , a piece of cardboard and a sharpie to ask for my help. I can do something for one person and not another, but then why did the first person get the aid? What did it go toward? On one hand, I could help a person. On the other I might not do anything for them, while losing money from my own bank account.
This psychological struggle is why I like stores like Salvation Army, Goodwill and Savers. I know where the money goes – it goes to organizations that serve many people at once, and I get something in return for my money. I love donating things to Goodwill and buying things from the store as well. I’m helping people and getting something at the same time. It almost makes one tempted to take their shoes off and chuck them in the nearest donation bin to continue the process.
According to the Huffington Post, the numerous donation bins set along many a street of the bustling city are actually benefiting for-profit companies. Instead of going towards charitable organizations to raise money for or give clothing to those in need, the clothing is sold in thrift stores or in bulk overseas to corporations that cannot be traced.
So donate your clothes. Give and buy from stores like Goodwill – there’s one on 8th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues – but be careful of where you’re putting your clothes. Your act may be one of a good samaritan, but the people putting price tags on the other side certainly aren’t as kind hearted as you are.