Since I have closed my garden for the winter, I started to look inward at my house which has been neglected during the summer months. As many of my loyal readers know, I am obsessed with gardening, and everything goes on hold until the last vegetable is picked. As I piled my garden equipment back into the garage for the winter, I could not help but notice my messy garage with bicycles, outdoor toys, and sports equipment sprawled all over the floor.
As I sifted through all the equipment on the floor, I notice that much of it was too small for my fourth child. Boy, has time flown. Yes, the tears start to well up in my eyes when I muse about when they wore those skates or rollerblades. I am a big softie about how fast my children have grown.
The good news is the sports equipment is in pretty good shape and has received its fair share of use by my four boys. But, as we all know, children grow like weeds. (Sorry, there I go again using those gardening words. ) Eventually, the skates, tennis rackets, and other sport paraphernalia become too small for the youngest and the sports equipment needs to find a new home.
As I thought about how to donate the sports equipment, visions of numerous (okay countless) recreation jerseys and sports uniforms danced in my head. If your household is anything like mine, every fall, winter, and spring, they collect new recreation jerseys, sponsored by so and so law firm, business or whomever is gracious enough to donate money for the purchase of jerseys. Although I greatly appreciate these donatons, why can’t we just pass down the t-shirts to the next group? Perhaps order a size that everyone can wear. Who needs a ton of unused shirts in their drawers? Not to mention, the environmental aspect of natural resources and energy used to create 15 plus t-shirts for a zillion teams each season! Readers, can you envision smoke coming out of my head as I sit here fuming at all the environmental madness?
Let’s not stop at just the town recreation sports. How about all those countless club sport uniforms, warm-ups and bags that my children have collected throughout their sports careers? Many of you may have children who change teams frequently. Or perhaps, your child’s team had to discontinue use of their current uniforms since they could no longer supply the same uniform to new players.
Children are not the only ones who have unused sports equipment and uniforms. So as I write this article, I pondered what should we all do with our unused sports apparrel and equipment? Here are some the resource I have used or found. Please feel free to add on to my list in the comments.
- Connect with a family who has younger children. I give my kids’ hand me downs to a family of younger boys. Unfortunately, they did not want to store the sports equipment since their boys are so much younger than mine.
- Play it Again Sports with franchises through the US and Canada: You can buy new, buy used, or trade in your equipment for cash at one of their locations. In general, here is what they are looking for. However, it is best to call your local store to find out what they are specifically looking for since each area is different.
- Sports Gift: This not for profit is focused on providing sports to underprivileged kids all over the world. They accept certain sports equipment, clothing, and shoes, and encourage coaches to send them their surplus equipment. All items can be sent to them via common carrier or delivered to their Laguna Hills, California Office . They also take surplus or obsolete merchandise from manufacturers or retailers.
- Sport2kids.org: This Davies, California based organization is working with a Sacramento YMCA to collect used or new equipment to benefit the kids. If you live in the Davies/Sacramento area, you can arrange for a pickup. See here. Cash donations are welcomed too. In addition, the organization seeks Yolo county businesses who can make sports equipment donations.
- Universal Giving: Similar to Sports Gift, this organization accepts donation for underprivileged kids in 19 countries.
- FreeCycle: Join a group and list your once loved possessions for free.
- Craigslist: Find your local area and create a free ad to either donate or sell your item. Word of advice. Always have more than one person with you when someone comes to look at your items. (This applies to FreeCycle too.) We all want to believe people are innately good but it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Sports for the World’s Children: Again, this San Franciso based organization is similar to Sports Gift. However, at this point, their website indicated that they can no longer accept sport equipment, but would gladly accept monetary donations. (Note: website information changes so check back with this organization to see if their sports equipment donations have resumed.)
- What about fitness equipment? Fitness 4 Charity accepts donations of used fitness equipment as well takes donation requests for the equipment. In the past, the organization has donated equipment to schools, foster care homes, firehouses, hospitals, and individuals just to name a few.
- Check your local Special Olympic chapter if they need any used or new sports equipment. The North Carolina chapter is seeking donations.
- Search iloveSchools for coaches or teachers seeking donations. This site provides a place where teachers can provide a wish list and connect with their community and businesses to seek those donations whether it is supplies, furniture or technology items. In addition, you can post a donation after you create a donor account.
- Humanitarian Service Project for DuPage and Kane County in Illinois (via Volunteer Match) is seeking sports equipment for ages 8-12.
- National Alliance for Youth Sports Global Gear Drive: This organization seeks new or slightly used sports equipment and sports uniforms to be donated to children in Africa, the Middle East, Caribbean, and Mexico. Contact the organization for free shipping of your boxes.
- For an exhaustive list of who accepts gently to falling apart running shoes or sneakers, see here.
- Consider recycling your yoga mats at Recycle your Mat (via FitSugar’s post.)
- Recycle used swim caps at EcoAthlete.org.
- Tennis balls that no longer have their bounce? Rebounces accepts reasonable quality tennis balls. (No balls that Fido ate.) Email or call them for a prepaid postage for 100 -500 ball packages. Don’t have enough balls? Consider starting a drive or partnering with a tennis club to collect gently used balls or pay for them to be sent to the organization.
- Opportunity for Baseball via Chase Sports Specialist LLC: This Arizona based organization accepts donations of used and new baseball equipment for less fortunate kids who want to play baseball.
- New Jersey Goals Ahead: This organization helps to introduce youth ice hockey to diverse urban communities and helps to defray the cost especially for lower income families. They accept donated used hockey equipment on a need basis.
- 4 the World: Seeking donation of sports uniforms and equipment. The uniforms are sent to schools and orphanages so the children can play sports as a team.
- Contact your local Boys & Girls Clubs of America
- Donate to Goodwill and the Salvation Army
- SwapMama: A social networking swap site for everything “mama could want.” See here for more swapping and bartering sites.
Whew! That was some long list, but there are probably more organizations or ideas that I did not list. So, readers, where have your donated recreation t-shirts, sports equipment or uniforms?
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- Electronic Disposal: Where to Recycle Other than a Third World County