Baltimore County Now
Bureau of Solid Waste Management
As the holidays arrive, our belts tighten around our post-Thanksgiving waists and our wallets thin from the joy of giving to our loved ones. Amid the hustle and bustle of department store discounts and clearance racks, it’s easy to overlook all the perfectly good items piling up at home.
Many of us have unused low-definition TV’s, working cell phones untouched since the latest update, and outdated toys and games collecting dust in the basement. One can imagine Clement Clark Moore actually intended the timeless poem “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” to read “when out on the lawn there arose such a clutter.”
In addition to fueling the holiday spirit by helping others, donating, or choosing to reuse, unused goods has many advantages. As opposed to discarding items as trash, donating reduces disposal costs, cuts down on air and water pollution, and conserves space in Baltimore County’s landfill (which is already over 50 percent filled). Donating certain items may even qualify as a valuable tax deduction.
Here are some ways you can donate this holiday season.
Large household appliances, like electric stoves, refrigerators, and furniture, are accepted by the American Rescue Workers, which resells the items. The proceeds fund a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, a soup kitchen, and an overnight shelter for people in need.
Pet supplies, from crates to animal water bottles to blankets and towels, are acceptable items to donate to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) to be used for the animals at the shelter.
Books in good condition, as well as CDs and DVDs, can be donated to the Towson Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library. These are sold at the annual Friends of the Towson Library Book Sale, which raises funds to support the Towson Library.
Cell phones complete with chargers and batteries can be donated to the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County to be given to people experiencing domestic violence.
Gently-used eyeglasses and sunglasses donated to Lenscrafters find new homes internationally with those who need glasses but cannot afford them.
Building supplies, like faucets, sinks, toilets, doors, windows, and tools, just to name a few, can easily be donated to The Loading Dock, Inc. Just bring them to either of two County residents’ drop-off facilities (the Central Acceptance Facility in Cockeysville or the Eastern Sanitary Landfill Solid Waste Management Facility in White Marsh).
For a more in-depth list of acceptable items to donate, and where to take them, see the County’s Reuse Directory.
Remember – not everybody can give as much as you this holiday season. By donating unneeded goods, you can help fill more homes with cheer. And don’t forget – after you open your holiday gifts, make room in your closets, on your shelves, and in your cabinets by donating all your usable, but no longer wanted, items.
Ifenanya Agwu, Baltimore County Office of Communications – Student Intern
12th Grade, Towson High School Law and Public Policy Program
As the leaves are blowing about the crisp fall air and the Halloween decorations have all been put away, the question on my mind is—when is it going to be Thanksgiving time already? Thanksgiving is that time when I can eat as much of the mouth-watering food my mother and other family members prepare, without judgment. Thanksgiving is that time when I see those family members who I rarely see throughout the year so the catching up we have to do is chaotic yet fun. Thanksgiving is that time when my father invites entirely too many of his friends to come over and join in the festivities, but its perfectly okay. Why? Because it is Thanksgiving and it’s the time to spend with family and friends.
Thanksgiving is by far one of my favorite holidays. Between the great food, the warm family gatherings, and all of the opportunities around to help a person or family in need, Thanksgiving offers a lot and truly brings out the spirit of giving in many people.
Baltimore County definitely is not lacking in the opportunities to give back during the Thanksgiving season. An excellent way to lend a helping hand is through the “Harvest of Plenty” sponsored by the United Way of Central Maryland (UWCM).
UWCM’s 20th Annual “Harvest of Plenty” is a meal program that provides a Thanksgiving meal for families who might otherwise go without one. In 2011, the program supplied more than 2,500 meals and hopes to supply at least 3,000 meals this Thanksgiving. UWCM offers an inexpensive, yet profound means for people to assist with their cause ? a donation of just $12 can provide a full Thanksgiving meal for a family of six.
So while you’re at the dinner table thinking of what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving, imagine what it would be like to have a Thanksgiving without that meal. Then think about the families who would be thankful for your donation towards their Thanksgiving meal.