Ah, giving. It’s great, isn’t it? It is a special feeling knowing you’ve helped someone in need.
Remember, your donations don’t always necessarily have to be monetary. If you live in New York, you know how hard it is to feel comfortable in a cluttered apartment. While, sure, you or a professional organizer could throw everything you don’t want out, you can also give those unwanted items a new life by donating them to a charity.
With more than 98,000 charities in NYC to choose from, we narrowed down the list to some very special organizations that work hard to find homes for the gently loved clothes, furniture, baby toys and other cherished items you donate.
Your gifts can transform someone else’s life. Here are 25 New York City charities that put those gifts into the hands of the people who need them the most.
Materials for the Arts
Art is a great means for children to express themselves, yet not every school can afford art supplies. Materials for the Arts (MFTA) seeks to bridge that gap, but it relies on donated items to do so. Do you have any old artsy items lying around? MFTA would love sewing supplies, power tools, picture frames, office supplies, instruments and fabric. Ask about getting a tax deduction for giving.
Goodwill Industries New York/New Jersey
Going green is important, and donating items is a good way to do it. When you trash your unwanted stuff, it often sits in a landfill, contributing to the rise in greenhouse gases. Goodwill Industries New York/New Jersey is perfectly happy to take much of that stuff, including DVDs and CDs, books, luggage, shoes and clothes (it’s preferred if they’re only slightly used, though).
The Bowery Mission
Whether they’re last season, they don’t fit or you never wear them, don’t hold on to those old clothes anymore. Lighten up your closet and your spirit by giving them to The Bowery Mission, an organization that fights for the homeless. The bigger the clothes, the better. If you have slightly used socks and underwear, feel free to pass these along, too.
In the 1980s and 1990s, HIV/AIDS ripped people’s lives apart. Although there’s still no cure today, medications make it possible to live long, happy lives with the disease. Housing Works provides lifesaving help for homeless and low income men, women and teens living with HIV/AIDS. They make it easy and even come get your old furniture. They also accept housewares, art, clothes and books.
Preparing for a job interview can be stressful enough without having to worry about what to wear. Bottomless Closet makes it easier for women across the five boroughs trying to enter the workforce from unemployment or public assistance by providing them with appropriate work attire. While the charity has limited resources and cannot pick up your donations, they do have curbside pickup from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Just make sure to call ahead to set up a time. And also consider donating accessories in addition to your gently used clothes.
People usually prefer to be eco-friendly, but they’re not always necessarily sure how. The average New Yorker tosses 46 pounds of clothing and other textiles in the trash each year. GrowNYC provides them with a savvy alternative. Their Greenmarket Clothing Collection takes old items and recycles and repurposes them. Get rid of your belts, handbags, sheets and linens, paired shoes, and clothing here.
NYC Mammas Give Back
Uniting New York City families, NYC Mammas Give Back always welcomes others who want to give to the cause. In fact, they rely on mothers to help other mothers. Babies outgrow their clothes and other items — quickly. Instead of junking these items, give them to moms and their babies in NYC shelters/programs through this charity. Maternity clothes, baby toys and clothes, playpens, and highchairs are just some of the items this group needs.
Room to Grow
If you have more baby items, you can always give them to Room to Grow. This organization helps impoverished mothers and their babies by offering support in the most critical time for growth and development: the first three years of life.
During that time, the charity provides regular one-on-one sessions with a social worker to cover important development information, customized support and all the necessary baby items to ensure a healthy start. Room to Grow needs everything from baby clothes to toys — and your donations go directly into the hands of families in need.
Ronald McDonald House New York
Everyone knows Ronald McDonald. But not everyone may know The Ronald McDonald House. It’s a “home away from home” for pediatric cancer patients and their families. The House is a supportive, caring place where families can stay together — and heal together. The New York location has released its 2016 donations list, which includes kids’ toys and movies, arts crafts and supplies, blankets, gift cards and electronics.
Another kid-centric charity is Little Essentials, which aids Brooklyn mothers struggling to make ends meet while raising their children. The not-for-profit welcomes both money and tangible goods, which can be sent to their headquarters. Their desired list of items changes depending on the season, but clothes, baby carriers, diapers and car seats are typically always in need.
United War Veterans Council
Help veterans by donating to the United War Veterans Council. They’re big on recycling, and will even stop by your home to grab bags of old clothes and other unwanted items. You can get tax incentives if you give and you don’t even have to go anywhere to do so. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Another option for those who want to donate some of their professional work outfits is Career Gear. Not only does this charity accept gently used men’s clothing, but it also offers mentoring, professional development workshops and a Job Readiness Program. Help the low income men of NYC get ready for work by giving cufflinks, ties, overcoats, dress shoes and suits.
Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals
Clutter is clutter, whether it’s stuff you wear or stuff your pet uses. For the latter, there’s the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, a round-up of pet-related charities that does everything from rescuing animals and sending them to shelters for adoption, to helping pet owners get their animals spayed/neutered and microchipped. These pet-centric charities are always looking for pet blankets, bowls, leashes, collars, toys and treats to help with their various missions.
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Recipients of the Purple Heart Medal have long relied on charity organizations such as the Military Order of the Purple Heart for connections to other veterans. The group works with GreenDrop, a donation company that makes it easier to give away stuff. Just put your items in boxes, set up a time for GreenDrop to come by, and get a tax receipt. They accept new and gently used items from clothing and baby items to sporting goods and small electronics.
United Cerebral Palsy of New York City
Cerebral palsy can be a devastating condition that affects both the people with the disease and their families. Since 1946, the United Cerebral Palsy of New York City has worked with these individuals and families to get them the medical care and support they need. This charity has helped 14,000 people — and counting — over the years. If you want to give, pass along your kitchenware, books, kids toys, arts supplies, wheelchairs and AV equipment.
The Relief Boutique
With personal assistants to help women dress their best, The Relief Boutique lets economically disadvantaged professional New York women browse through its ever-changing selection of donated goods. Your clothes could be on their racks to help these women succeed in the business world, especially if you give socks, pantyhose, scarves, handbags, boots and work outfits.
Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation
A homeless shelter, Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation offers housing assistance, treatment referrals and employment services. As you can imagine, there is a great deal of need here. You can give toiletries (toothbrushes and toothpaste, hair brushes, deodorant and soap), clothing and even non-perishable food.
National Council of Jewish Women New York
The National Council of Jewish Women New York relies on its thrift shop — in addition to cash donations — to help this historic organization push for social justice. And by social justice we mean everything from anti-hunger and healthy living programs to pregnancy loss support and children’s literacy. Stock up the store with your unused items and unworn clothes, and they’ll turn them into something truly valuable.
It can be hard living in the Big Apple with a growing family. Baby2Baby is intended to make life easier for low-income families by offering clothes, food and more for children 0 to 12 years old. Baby2Baby reports that they will serve more than 125,000 children this year alone. They could always use more supplies though, including toys, bouncy chairs, strollers and maternity clothes.
Based in Astoria and Gowanus, Big Reuse salvages usable items from demolition and remodel projects and reintroduces them to the market in an effort to promote greener living. They’ll take almost anything — furniture, building materials, old windows, radiators, lighting fixtures, flooring, doors, pavers and appliances. But they can’t take things such as clothing, bedroom furniture, scrap wood and electronics, so call ahead for approval of your donation.
Another charity that will take bigger items is Nazareth Housing. Those who need shelter can turn to this organization, which has changed the lives of nearly 50,000 homeless or financially strapped New Yorkers since its founding in 1983. They’re always looking for furniture and household goods, and they’ll come get it every Thursday (just let them know which date works for you and give them at least a week’s notice!).
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Another nationwide charity with a headquarters in New York (Albany, in particular) is the U.S Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. As these immigrants, whether by force or by choice, leave their country for another, this nonprofit watches over their rights — and helps make their transition a little easier. You can free your closets of winter gear, cleaning items, furniture, linens and pillows to help, too.
The Salvation Army
With locations across the country, including New York, The Salvation Army is one of the best-known charities. The organization is deeply entrenched in American culture, but you may not know what they do, aside from ringing all those little red bells during the holidays.
The Salvation Army, although a Christian organization, says it meets human needs without discrimination. Its programs include adult services for the developmentally disabled, youth after-school services and even disaster relief. You may have given a few dollars during the holidays, but now you can give back in other ways by donating furniture and clothes.
Dress for Success
A New York-based not-for-profit that has grown nationwide, Dress for Success has worked with nearly one million women striving for economic independence. And that’s just in the span of about 20 years. With locations in the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan, it’s easy to give. Simply donate any of your professional garb that’s still in good repair but isn’t on high rotation in your closet. It will be warmly appreciated.
Animal Care Centers of NYC
An adoption service for stray animals, the Animal Care Centers of NYC help pets find their forever homes. They accept all types of toys, supplies and food for dogs, cats and even rabbits. Make sure to check their site for exact food brands. The organization has locations in each of the five boroughs.
If your things need a new home because they don’t quite fit in your current apartment, we have locations throughout New York where you can store them. For anything you don’t need to hang on to, however, we recommend you get in touch with any of the charities on this list. Not only will you give your stuff a new life, you will give people in need a helping hand.