Why You Should Choose to Donate
Ever wondered what actually happens to the clothing and toys you marked as “DONATE” if they are unsold at the end of your local Rhea Lana’s sale? They get dirty. They get dropped. They get left on the floor. They get hugged. They get folded. They get played with. They get loved. They get used by a child, or children, who need them and want them and get to call them their own. I know…I know because my house has them, my kids have them.
When I became a fresh-out-the-gate Foster mom, Rhea Lana’s husband, Dave actually pointed me to the Foster Family Shopping night our RL sale was hosting. If you are unfamiliar with what this is like I was, it is a moment at the end of the sale where all of the items that were unsold and marked “Ok to Donate” by their consignors, get reorganized and set up for local foster families to come and shop and take home whatever they need for the kiddos in their home FOR FREE!
The first time I walked into this event I was overwhelmed both by the amount of stuff available, and the amount of need to be met. There was something incredibly humbling about sifting through racks of clothes, baskets of shoes, and shelves of books with other moms and dads who were in the same place I was. I looked around – all different ages of parents and grandparents, all different races, all different levels of need, and yet we were there for the same reason. We were there because there was someone in our home that we were trying to love the best we could. We were there because we had stepped into a role that left us with a lot of unknown needs and unpredictable expenses. We were there because you, as a consignor, said you wanted to pass along your kids’ previously loved belongings for another kid to love.
Being a foster parent means giving your time, your resources, your home, and yourself to someone for as long as they need you to – sometimes that’s a week, sometimes that becomes forever, and everything in between. I have a pair of pajamas that I picked up at that first free shopping night almost three years ago – they are grey and white striped with red cuffs. They are just cotton jammies…probably stretched two sizes past their label, faded from lots of washes, and worn in the knees from little people learning to crawl in them, but they are special to me. They are special because the first baby that came into our home wore those jammies…followed by the next two babies (who became my forever babies), followed by my next baby that I gave birth to over a year ago. They remind me of a lot of life that has been lived in them in our home and the home they were in before ours. They bring a little more joy into our family when it feels like so much going on right now is more than we can handle. They encourage me to keep passing the generosity that has been shown to us during our season of fostering and adopting to other sweet families walking the same road.
So, if you’re wondering what happens if you let your items get donated at the end an RL event, I can assure you that they will continue to get loved on - it might be by a kid who is in a foster home for a season or it might be by a young mom about to have her first baby. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local RL’s to find out how they are giving back to their community with the donated items. Your leftover items might not seem like they would make much of a difference to you, but I’ve got one little pair of jammies that would show you otherwise.
By Danae Hawthorne
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