Do you have shoes that don’t fit anymore, books that are gathering dust, or clothes you no longer use? Do you want to get the stuff out of your house, but don’t want it to end up in the trash?
Luckily, there are organisations in Bengaluru that can help you deal with just this. These organisations have passionate volunteers who collect donations, and ensure that these reach deserving people. This saves resources, and helps bridge the gap between surplus and shortage. You could also connect with these organisations, and become a volunteer yourself.
Waste not, want not
Goonj is an NGO that collects underused or reusable materials from urban homes, and redistributes it to those who lack basic necessities. Goonj accepts materials such as clothes, bed sheets, dry rations, school materials, toys and footwear. You can drop off these materials at the NGO’s ‘dropping center’ near Kudlu Gate.
Goonj also has other programmes to help those in need. Its School to School programme, for example, addresses educational needs in remote areas. The Not Just a Piece of Cloth (NJPC) initiative tries to remove the taboo around menstruation, and makes cloth pads called MyPads for women who can’t otherwise access sanitary products.
Share At Door Step (SADS) is essentially a company that is Flipkart in reverse. Instead of delivering packages, SADS picks up donations. If you want to donate, you can schedule a pick-up through the SADS website. When you enter your location in the website, details of NGOs in your vicinity will be displayed. You can then select an appropriate NGO depending on the items you wish to donate. SADS charges a convenience fee, depending on the size of your donation.
Anushka Jain, the Founder of SADS, says that she started the company based on her experiences as a child. “When I was small, we used to go to an orphanage, spend time with kids, and give them toys and clothes,” she said, explaining that she did so only once a year because it wasn’t easy to donate items to orphanages and NGOs. “I realised there was no easy way to donate clothes and toys, and that’s when I thought we should have something like this [SADS],” she says.
In the beginning, Anushka used to pick up donations and make deliveries herself. Now SADS has 12 employees and several volunteers, and over 100 NGO partners across nine cities.
Anushka says SADS has been well-received by the public. “We have hardly spent any money in marketing. The traffic we have is organic. I would say, word-of-mouth works so well.” When Anushka launched the website, she used to get 20-25 pick-up requests daily, without any marketing. “Now we get 100-150 requests per day,” she says.
“People have so much stuff lying around, and they want to get rid of it, because everything will end up in a landfill otherwise, right? They want to dispose it off responsibly, and Share At Door Step comes to their rescue. It is not just about doing good, it is also solving their problem,” Anushka says.
When asked about the difficulties of starting a business, she says giving up a traditional job and going into uncharted territory was a challenge. Also, “it’s difficult for a relatively small company to keep up with customers’ expectations with limited budgets, in a world where customers are used to ‘next-day deliveries’ and ‘express services’ by multi-million-backed companies,” Anushka says.
Ashvasan Foundation in Bengaluru, that works for the welfare of senior citizens, organises a garage sale every year. According to Ashok Urs, a volunteer who helps with the garage sale, most people give them items for the sale for free. Many of them drop off items at a central location, but if the donors are senior citizens, volunteers pick up the materials.
Volunteers then sort and price the items. “We collect and sort the materials in one location – we segregate clothes, kitchen appliances, electronics, footwear and so on,” Urs says. “We try to repair whatever we can, so that we get value for what we sell.”
A few months before the annual sale, the foundation sends out fliers, requesting people to donate things they don’t use, and informing them of the upcoming sale. Proceeds from the sale are then used for the foundation’s work with senior citizens.
These organisations are always welcoming volunteers; simple steps to get started are available on their websites. Their efforts are all about communities helping one another grow and becoming healthier.
|Organisation||What they accept||How to reach them|
|Goonj||Clothes, footwear, stationary and school supplies, electronics, furniture, dry ration, toys||Ph: 9663798026|
|Share At Door Step||Clothes, footwear, stationary, kitchenware, electronics, furniture, toys||To donate, fill out details at: https://sadsindia.org/|
|Ashvasan Foundation||Clothes, footwear, stationary, electronics, toys||Ph: 080 2225 8091|