It happens every year: the influx of gifts you don’t want. A well-meaning aunt gives you a grown-up size of the bejeweled sweater you loved in 7th grade. Grandma gifts you the fourth mug in a row. Your sister gives you a shirt you actually like so much you’ve already bought it for yourself.
Might I make a suggestion?
Please don’t, you think; but it’s too late.
Instead of exchanging the item for something else (aka spend two hours scouring the store for something you actually want), why not take the money from the return process and donate it to one of the following charities? Each of these is an organization close to my heart, but which serves a wide variety of people.
The Oregon Extension: a unique alternative semester-abroad. Students (like I used to be) “can settle into our mountain hideaway in the southern Oregon Cascades for a four-month conversation with professors and peers who love to read books, ask big questions, and confront big ideas.” Participants “move out of the current where [they] can think about issues that tug at [them], cultivate friendships, feel the touch of the breeze in the forest, listen to the stream in the canyon, and reach some understanding about what things mean and why they are worth caring about.”
Amirah Boston: “a faith-based nonprofit organization located in the Boston area that strives to provide a refuge for those seeking to break free from exploitation and heal in community on their journey toward lasting hope… by providing safe homes for those that want to break free from sexual exploitation, mobilizing the greater community to create opportunities for healing, restoration and reintegration.
Picture the Homeless: An organizing group that “was founded and is led by homeless people. [They] refuse to accept being neglected and we demand that our voices and experience are heard at all levels of decision-making that impact us. [They] oppose the quality of life laws that criminalize homeless people in any form by the city, state and national governments[,] work to change these laws and policies, [and]challenge the root causes of homelessness.”
I’m curious: what organizations do you care about and support?