Days 365+82 refugee donations cropped

My stuff

An email came from a friend about contributing household goods to a local refugee resettlement program. Most of the people currently being served are from Nepal. Lita invited our faith community to bring extra household items for the refugees to our next meeting. I thought I wouldn’t have much to contribute since I’ve been limiting purchases for several years now. But, this was a friend calling who had a personal connection with the Nepalese refugees. It was worth looking around. It still amazes me that I have useful things tucked away in closets that I seldom use. I was both surprised and pleased that I found a spread, a number of towels, and various kitchen utensils to contribute. It wasn’t much, but it was something.

The miracle happened in the multiplication of items as other families added to my modest pile.

Insight #1: Finding the right place to give makes it so much easier to let go. It’s much more satisfying to let go of extra stuff to a person than to an institution. Sure Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul are worthy distribution centers, but having a specific recipient in mind helped me stretch beyond the “I might use these extra towels some day” mentality. That’s the attitude that helped me let go of many of the baby items I thought my yet to be born grandchildren might want. I knew a pregnant mom who had few resources. It helped me let go.

Days 365+82 refugee donations + Anawim cropped

My stuff multiplied

Insight #2: But, you say, “I don’t know any refugees or needy pregnant women.” These people didn’t just come knocking at my door one night. Part of the challenge of giving stuff away is putting oneself in situations where coming into contact with potential recipients is likely. It may take a call to a local Catholic Charities, a maternity home, or checking out the social service agencies in your community. It might mean volunteering in a place where you meet face to face with people who have less. It might be being the one who asks friends to join in the miracle of multiplication.

Question: How do YOU find people to give stuff to?