I am the Professional Development Director in the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. This is a great marriage of my previous work providing professional development experiences to college students, and doing the organizing work I do now. As the Prof Dev Dir, I get to choose what the association does each month (...with input from members and the board, it isn't all about me!)
August is usually a low-turnout month. I think everyone is trying to get to get their all their summer plans completed before school starts. Because of that, I hope to make our August meeting an annual volunteer event. We have sorted clothes at ARC in the past but this year I wanted to connect members with a site that maybe less of them are familiar with. So I set up a field-trip to Bridging.
I already liked Bridging, but after visiting and seeing what an enormous, but tight ship they run, I really like them! Diana Dalsin, Community Relations Manager, gave us a tour and explained what they do. In a nutshell, Bridging connects people who are leaving homelessness with basic home items. They collect specific home goods (see list here) and invite the referred clientele to go 'shopping'. Individuals pick out their own beds, sheets, pillows, dishes and furniture.
I was surprised at some of the items I saw there. A few things looked pieces I remember from the 70s. But Ms. Dalsin said that they have never found themselves stuck with something that no one wants. If a piece stays more than a week or two, they just move it to a different area and someone falls in love with it.
They do have criteria for what they will accept. It should be in decent condition. That doesn't mean brand new, but Ms. Dalsin suggested that one ask themselves if it is in good enough condition to pass on to a neighbor or family member. If it is, then it is probably something they would take.
While the warehouse is huge (spotless and very well organized too), they don't have unlimited space and it costs money to dispose of items that they can't use - so they will turn away items that don't fit their mission. This includes clothes, books, toys, games, etc. They are focused on creating homes and they seem to be doing a great job at it!
Similar to how Bridging handles bedding, volunteers will match sets that come from different donors. With sheets, they may may pair a pillowcase with a complimentary sheet set - so donations of a single sheet or single towel are welcome.
You might notice a TV in the bottom of this image. They accept TVs made in 2000 or more recently. This is one of the only sites I have found that takes old TVs and I have already donated two of them!