Seattle’s Guide for Proper Donations
We have been incredibly fortunate to have had such generous donors who believe in our mission to help needy neighbors in King County by donating to our thrift stores. However, we need your help in guaranteeing that donations are of a quality that we are able to sell items.
St. Vincent de Paul helps our neighbors in need through programs funded by our thrift stores. If we can’t sell your donation for a good price in our stores, we have to recycle or throw away your donation. That means that household goods, clothing, and furniture donations must be clean, in working order, have all the parts, etc. with no rips, stains, tears, fraying, fading, etc.
We have to be able to sell your donation. Think about it this way – You have a shirt that you wear that has a small stain on the sleeve. No big deal – you like the shirt, it goes perfectly with your favorite skirt, it matches your eyes, whatever. Then you decide to donate it to St. Vincent de Paul, thinking, “It was good enough for me to wear yesterday. Someone could wear this.” There’s our problem. For your donation to help us fund our programs, instead of cost us money, we have to be able to sell your donation in our stores.
It’s an honest mistake. You were wearing the shirt yesterday – how bad can it be? For whatever reason someone is shopping thrift – the thrill of finding that gem, a love of browsing, stretching your limited budget – here’s the question: would you buy a shirt that someone else owned, wore, and then spilled coffee on? The answer is probably no.
We have to raise our merchandise standards, to compete with big box stores that sell brand new items for low prices. If you can get a basic t-shirt for $4, are you going to choose the brand new shirt from a big box store or the gently used shirt that someone else has already been worn? Well, we think that if the quality of our thrift store t-shirt is higher, but slightly used, our shoppers might choose the SVdP shirt, while also keeping in mind that when you shop at St. Vincent de Paul, you are helping our neighbors here in King County, not helping some CEO buy their fourth vacation home.
But wouldn’t some person want that shirt, even though it has a stain on it? No. We give away thousands of clothing to our Food Bank guests every year. They deserve to have clothing that is clean and undamaged.
Our hope is that donors will help us secure gently used donations that can sold in our stores.