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Sydney Charities That Don't Need Your Money

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by Shannon Meyerkort (subscribe)
Writer. Storyteller. Find out more at
Published January 10th 2013
How To Give When You Have Nothing To Give
[ADVERT]Sometimes you really want to give back, but you have no money to actually give.

Perhaps you have an old pair of prescription glasses lurking in the bathroom cupboard, or a pair of shoes you bought for work and only wore once? What about all those maternity bras you (hope to) never need again?

Thought you had nothing to give? You thought wrong.

Here is a list of some of the more unusual things you can donate.

Donate your hair to kids with cancer

Yes, donating bits of your body is usually considered beyond the call (although if you have a spare kidney, consider donating it here) but chopping off your foot long mullet and donating it to sick kids helps the world in more ways than one. All hair donated (if it meets requirements) is made into wigs before being given to kids who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. Organised by Variety, the donation of hair, can help change a child's life, and you can simply post it in.

Click here to find out more details.

Donate your bras to women in need

All women have at least one bra they never wear. It's either too big or too small, or maybe you just don't like leopard print anymore. Maybe you have finished having babies but still have some good quality nursing bras sitting at the back of the drawer.

Find these girls a new home and send them to Project Uplift who provide bras to women in need in third world countries and right on our own doorstep.

All bras but particularly nursing and maternity bras are needed for women for whom a bra is an unobtainable luxury. Bras can be dropped off a few locations across the city or posted to NSW Uplift, 17 Brentwood Ave, Warrawee NSW 2074.

All those books you bought to impress your rather brainy ex-girlfriend and are now gathering dust on the shelf? The ones that Oprah recommended? The ones with the silver tie on the cover?

Lifeline, who offer 24/7 telephone crisis support to over 1 million Australians every year, hold regular Bookfairs around the state, with the money raised going directly back into the training of crisis supporters. Books can be dropped off in the Lifeline bins or directly to Lifeline Shops and Bookfairs.

Lifeline is a brilliant charity to support

It's a sad fact that many of the clothes 'donated' by people in the big charity bins are either of poor quality or are left to ruin. Disposing of them, then cost the charities tens of thousands of dollars each year, wasting money that could be spent on families in need.

If you have some good quality and clean clothes to donate (babies, kids and adults) then spend a minute trying to find the most appropriate place for them. Click here for a list of NSW charities which need donations of clothes.

Give your old bike a new life as a wheelchair

There are two types of unwanted bikes: the ones which have been cannibalised and no longer have tyres and seats and the ones that are still functional (but you'd much rather sit on the couch).

If you have one of the former, the consider donating it to the blokes in the Mary MacKillop's Men's Shed or the group at MTC Work Solutions who will use the frames to make wheelchairs which are then donated overseas.

If your bike is still rideable then there are a number of charities in NSW who are looking for bikes, either for their work in Indigenous communities in Australia, or for disadvantaged people in third world countries. On yer bike! Get donating.

Mobile Phones
Let's have a quiz: how many mobile phones have you had since the mid-1990s? Where are they all? If you have a drawer full of them like me, it's time to pull them out and click here.

Taronga Zoo and the Aussie Recycling Program will use your old mobile phone to raise money for primate conservation. That's gorillas. You can either drop them off at any Sydney branch of the Bendigo Bank or click here for a free Reply-Paid form you can stick to an envelope.

Donate your old prescription glasses

As you get older, your eyes deteriorate, and so it's off to the optician to get yet another pair of glasses. But what have you been doing with your stash of old prescription glasses?

Consider donating them to a good cause. Each year OneSight recycles 'gently' used eyeglasses and redistributes them worldwide through their global clinics.

Drop off your old glasses at any Laubman & Pank, OPSM, Sunglass Hut or Budget Eyewear.

Clothes maketh the (wo)man

Business clothes
If you're like me and have left the rat-race for the rug-rats then perhaps you have some nice business attire that no longer gets used.

Fitted For Work is a non-profit organisation that helps disadvantaged women (and migrants and ex-prisoners) get into the workforce by providing them with the skills, advice and clothing they need to apply for jobs, attend interviews and begin their new life. You can donate clothing, handbags, shoes and accessories.

Clothing can be dropped off weekdays at Suite 37/38a, 70 Phillip Street, Parramatta, or call on (02) 9365 9909.

Something bigger to donate?
Hey, you'll never know if you don't ask. Perhaps you have a car, motorbike, boat or piece of art that you wish to donate to charity. Donate A Car is an Australian-wide organisation that will sell your car (or boat or Picasso) at the local Pickles auction yard and then donate all the proceeds to the charity of your choice.

Not only will you not have to worry about selling the car privately, or getting an awful price as a trade-in, you will be a warm fuzzy feeling about helping others and giving your car a new lease of life.

Other Ways to Donate
Give Now is an Australian portal that makes it easy to give whatever you have to the people who need it most. If you wish to donate something that I haven't mentioned, chances are Give Now knows where it will be needed.

Charities are seeking everything from food to electrical equipment and from corks to blankets.

Other things you can donate when you're broke:

Blood: the situation is dire and you can donate blood every twelve weeks at the Red Cross.

Towels and blankets: always needed by the Dog refuge or RSPCA.

Old Computers: feel better about getting your new iThing by giving away your old computer.
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Why? because it feels good to help (but sometimes you don’t have cash)
When: Donate Now
Where: Sydney
Your Comment
Hi there i have big box of cds.... where could you suggest i could donate to ??
by sarah (score: 0|5) 2901 days ago
Great article. Is there any where to donate makeup and body moisturisers etc???? DVDs and CDs games???
by keshu (score: 0|6) 3210 days ago
Great article!
by Bec Ninness (score: 2|215) 3207 days ago
Great to know. Thank you for sharing.
by Lian (score: 1|12) 3201 days ago
Fantastic list of ideas of where to donate unwanted items- Thank you
by send2 (score: 1|18) 3206 days ago
A great article, but it would be good to know where to donate clothes or textiles that are not suitable for re-wearing. And also where to buy products made from recycled textiles (e.g. cleaning rags or 'string').
by sam_n (score: 0|6) 3209 days ago
Fantastic article, the less items to land fill the better, perhaps local Councils need to read this and stop kerb side pick up for lazy residents who can't be bothered. My hat goes off to citizens who care for the world they live in and reuse, recycle and better still repair.
by krist217 (score: 0|4) 3201 days ago
I agree with Krist217 below. We are such a throw away society, Local Councils need to get their act together and make this happen.
by tgapp (score: 0|4) 3186 days ago
Brilliant article. Thanks for sharing.
by Ivana Katz (score: 3|1132) 3198 days ago
I wish the groups I had phoned (several times) were more proactive when I was trying to donate my late husband's shirts, pants, ties, suits, shoes... he had some really top clothes and I know he would have preferred some bloke to have them for a job interview. Ended up putting them in the church bin and I have no idea if they ever got to the right men.
by HRHsh (score: 0|6) 3190 days ago
Thanks for posting this, I have put it on my FB page to share the good idea.
by HRHsh (score: 0|6) 3190 days ago
by SteveO (score: 0|4) 3195 days ago
Where can I donate candy ?
by hachi (score: 0|5) 3210 days ago
Thank you what a great article. A great way for the kids to think of someone else other than themselves these holidays! So many great ways to give to society.
by Jeani (score: 0|4) 3210 days ago
Great! I will share it! Thanks!
by p_oer (score: 1|10) 3210 days ago
Great! I will share it! Thanks!
by p_oer (score: 1|10) 3210 days ago
Thank you so much for offering these great ideas, Shannon! You've inspired me when I was feeling a bit broke and seemingly unable to help friends in need. Have a great 2013!
by eva.2 (score: 1|44) 3210 days ago
Ilove this idea had no idea so many more things could be donated.
by denis37 (score: 0|7) 3210 days ago
This is the most fantastic article - thankyou! I have worked in the 'charity' sector for more than 20 years, and so many wonderful people want to get involved and help - it's just finding the way that works for you, and there are some really terrific ideas here. Thankyou! J
by Julie Mundy (score: 3|1738) 3209 days ago
Great article. Most helpful. Have donated wheelchairs, childs and adults, also bikes, have tried Mary Mackillop, waiting for answer. Any other charities that might need these items. Live on Central Coast, NSW.
by jean. (score: 0|2) 3156 days ago
Lovely :)
by Cayrole (score: 1|54) 2989 days ago
I have a a unit full of contents that a would like to donate
by Camer (score: 0|2) 1640 days ago
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