As a species, we tend to take a lot of things for granted. We assume that the sun will rise tomorrow, that our car will start in the morning, that we will always have our homes. It is not until we have everything we take for granted taken away from us that we realize exactly how fortunate we are. Unfortunately for the 564,708 people who are regularly homeless in the country, there is very little they have that can be taken for granted. It is estimated that roughly 15% of the homeless population are considered chronically homeless individuals that have nowhere to turn. In spite of so many people in regular need, as Americans we tend to waste a lot of precious goods that could be used to clothe, warm, and shelter those in need.
The Extent of American Waste
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American will through away roughly 10 pounds of clothing per year — with over 300 million Americans, these numbers can quickly turn monumental. Another statistic cites that Americans consume nearly 20 billion garments every year — that would be 68 articles of clothing and seven pairs of shoes per person purchased every week. A majority of clothing ends up in landfills, yet statistics show that nearly 100% of clothing and textiles could be recycled or reused regardless of condition. In the end it comes to reason that we could all afford to give more and use less; this is where charities come into play.
Our Capacity to Give
Despite the significant amount of waste that we produce as a nation, there is also a great amount of good in our fellow Americans. Around 70% of people in the country regularly give to charities every year; it is no surprise that the winter holidays see a drastic spike in the amount given. In total around 3% of American income is given to charities every year — this does not even factor in the number of clothing articles, non-perishable foodstuffs, and secondhand furniture donated every year. As more and more people are participating in charitable donations those landfill figures are decreasing and more people in need are getting the food, shelter, and clothing that is so essential to them. Those who donate clothing to charities are strengthening their local communities and ensuring that no person goes forgotten.
Red Cross Clothing Donations
The American Red Cross has partnered with GreenDrop Charitable Donations to collect clothing and household donations to be converted into cash donations that benefit charities. There are approximately 30 free-standing areas and mobile trailers that accept Red Cross donations that collect an average of 100 tons of donations every week. Through these Red Cross donations millions of people in need across the country are able to get the relief they need. Unlike some charities, the American Red Cross is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to providing aid to those in need — this means you can rest assured that your Red Cross donations are being put to the best use they can. Always ensure that your donations are going to a non-profit organization so that the most people can benefit from your selfless donations — look online to find a Red Cross donation center near you.