One Business’ Trash, A Nonprofit Organization’s Treasure
By Amy Caputo | Photography by Amy Davis
Have you ever had an idea you never imagined would turn into a reality? For myself and my family, one simple idea of giving snowballed into a positive experience and has had a strong impact on our community.
The concept of the Give To Others website began in 2001 on a morning walk. My husband and I noticed a gently-used child’s bicycle at the curb. We agreed this bike could make another child happy, and it would be a shame to see it thrown away.
We had an idea that evolved into the Give To Others concept: utilize the Internet to connect individuals and businesses who wish to give with organizations in need.
Businesses often donate surplus inventory. Items are then posted on the website’s “Donated Items List,” an inventory available to all registered charities, where they can accept needed items for their clients or organization. Then, an accepting organization can contact the donor directly to make arrangements for a convenient pick-up time and provide the donor with a tax receipt. I know firsthand that life gets busy and we often have little free time in our day. I tried to make the giving process fast, efficient and hassle-free. The website also offers local organizations the chance to post their “Charities Needs List” to be shared with the community. If you haven’t seen this list before, I encourage you to check it out. It’s always available to review and fulfill at any time on our homepage, GiveToOthers.com.
Just recently, I witnessed a heartwarming situation in which a local family had donated an outdoor play set worth more than $2,000. While their children had outgrown it, the set still had many years of use left. The item was posted and accepted the very next day by the Hamilton Street Boys and Girls Club of Syracuse. The children who received the play set were overjoyed to have the new addition in the yard. Before the play set was installed, the children had to walk more than a mile to the nearest park. Having the new set on the premises made the children not only safe, but happy! It’s stories like this that bring me pride and joy in the Give To Others website.
Today, Give To Others has more than 250 nonprofit organizations enrolled in Central New York and is expanding to Chicago, Ill., and Rochester in the near future. A wide variety of nonprofit sectors are represented, including: those that help the elderly, disabled and veterans; food pantries; clothing closets; animal shelters; foster care organizations; after-school programs; social services programs; early intervention programs; substance abuse centers; group homes; various health centers; refugee assistance programs; child advocacy programs and more. The complete list of registered charities can be found on the website.
I welcome any local 501c3 nonprofit organization to enroll, free of charge, on the Give To Others home page, GiveToOthers.com.
Sometimes people ask me why my husband and I continue to operate the Give To Others site when we don’t benefit from it financially. That’s an easy question to answer. I’d like to think if I were in need, my community would be there for me. This website has given so many people and businesses the opportunity to help others and experience the joy of giving.
It goes back to what my parents taught me: Treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated. I feel I’ve been blessed with time, talent and resources to make this community service a possibility, and believe it’s my moral responsibility to give back. Through this journey, I’ve learned there is truly nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve helped another person in some small way. SWM
To get involved and donate, visit GiveToOthers.com.