College Kid’s Junk is a Charity’s Treasure

by Mark Price

for the Charlotte Observer

May 20, 2016

College students are notoriously untidy and no one appreciates it more than charities.

That’s because the stuff abandoned by departing students this time of year is a treasure trove of usable goods for thrift stores and low-income housing programs.

As a result, the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries and Crisis Assistance Ministry have forged partnerships with local institutions like UNC Charlotte, Davidson College and Queens University of Charlotte.

Students pile up what they can’t carry or ship home for summer break, and charity trucks happily haul it away, including TVs, furniture, computers, clothes, small appliances and countless futons. Students benefit, because most colleges have policies that fine students who don’t remove everything from their dorm rooms.

In the case of Goodwill and the Salvation Army, the items are used to stock thrift stores that fund a variety of charity programs, including job skills training. At Crisis Assistance Ministry, the benefit is even more direct, with the items going to a Furniture Bank and free store that supply goods at no charge to low-income people and families moving from homelessness into housing programs.

Goodwill officials said they received donations this year from Winthrop University in Rock Hill and Johnson & Wales University. The agency says the period following college gradations is the second busiest of the year for donations, followed by the final week of December when donors try to beat the Dec. 31 deadline for tax deductions.

Tovi Martin of Crisis Assistance said this year that agency received furniture from Davidson College and mattresses from both Davidson and UNC Charlotte. Past donors, she said, have included Johnson & Wales, Queens University of Charlotte, and Johnson C. Smith University.

Last year, 1,601 families (including 2,029 children) received furniture, beds, or essential appliances from the Crisis Assistance Free Furniture Bank, she said. Recipients are referred by charities and social services programs.

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  Fran received his doctorate from The Program for the Study of The Future at the University of Massachusetts where his dissertation work focused on why populations and leaders would ignore warnings, even when the warning was factual, had reliable sources, and was delivered directly to the people who could and should take evasive action.

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  "Telling leaders that the sky is going to fall only makes them feel impotent, discouraged, and resistant," says Fran, "unless you can also hand them an umbrella and a map to safe shelter.  If a problem is pointed out without furnishing a solution, the recipient of the warning reacts psychologically by blocking the warning. This means leaders cannot hear, and thus cannot lead in positive directions."

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