We all like the idea of helping other people. Many of us like the idea of giving back to our communities and to think the impact we have on the people around us is positive. Even if you cannot afford to give money or do not have time to volunteer, there are still things that you can do to help make the world a better place. There are many organizations that accept clothing donations, for example. Most people have clothing lying around that you can no longer wear or that you never want to wear again. That might be just the thing for helping families in need.
- Giving back improves your karma. Whether you consider yourself to be a Buddhist or not, when you give back to your community by giving to one of the organizations that accept clothing donations, you improve your karma. Many people do find that when they do things for others, good things happen to them. There is even some scientific research to back that up. When you do good things, good things will happen to and for you.
- Donating can make you healthier. Consumer Reports has found that people who donate their time, money or items are healthier than people who do not. They have lower blood pressure, can tolerate physical activity better and walk faster. Other research has shown that giving back can also help with long term illnesses like HIV and MS.
- You can improve the property values of your community. People prefer to live in places where residents look out for each other. When people see one person giving to organizations that accept clothing donations, they are more inclined to do the same. It is like the old shampoo commercial, “you tell two friends, then they tell two friends and so on and so on.” This chain of giving makes people happier in living in a community where people look out for one another. The area’s reputation improves and more people want to live there and the property values go up. All of this happened because you started donating clothing to charity.
- Your life will be more pleasurable. The National Institute of Health ran a study of people who donated to charity. The act of doing this was shown to activate the pleasure center of the brain. When this happens endorphins and serotonin are released and people are happier. Endorphins are also produced when people run or do similar cardio exercise and produces what is often called the “runner’s high.”
- People who donate are less stressed. Research that was done at John Hopkins University and the University of Tennessee shows that people who give back experience lower levels of stress. This could be the reason their blood pressure is lower than in people who do not donate anything to everyone.
- You will pay less in taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not treat item and clothing donations any different than it does monetary donations. If you talk to one of the organizations that accept clothing donations, ask about getting some documentation. This is good for your records and the IRS needs it if you make any donations that are worth more than $250 and plan to claim them on your taxes.
- You help the planet. Americans send about 12 million tons of used clothing to landfills every year. Some estimate that 90% of those 12 million tons could have been recycled. When textiles and clothing is donated to charity, nearly 80% is used directly to help people who need it or pay for the overhead for the organizations that accept clothing donations. As it is, these materials just decay in the landfill, adding to global warming. Donating your old clothes to charity prevents this. Everyone benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing down global warming.
There are many, many ways to give back to your community and help the people around you who need it. You can donate your time, your expertise, your money or your belongings that you no longer need. If you cannot get to the donation center, you can even have them come to you. There are a lot of non-profit organizations that pick up donations. Remember, do good things and good things happen.