One of the most commonly asked questions on Parramatta District Mums Facebook group is “where can I donate books/ clothing/ food etc to?” So we’ve put together this handy reference guide of local charities and community organisations to give you plenty of suitable options nearby.

Where Can I Donate

There are four sections in this Charitable Giving Guide:

  1. Where to Donate Specific Items: A list of organisations by the type of item to donate
  2. Grassroots Community Organisations: Here we provide information on local grassroots organisations you can donate to. They don’t generally have a set list of items they accept on a continuous basis but rather ask for specific items to match the needs of people they are currently helping.
  3. Large National Charities: A list of national charities with retail stores that you can donate in bulk to.
  4. About Donating: IMPORTANT information and tips on how to donate

With your help, we will grow and improve this Charitable Giving Guide over time. We hope it is very useful in working out where and how to donate your pre-loved items. And thank you for paying it forward!


Where to Donate Specific Items

We have pulled together a list of specific items that families regularly want to donate and then grouped them by the type of item. The list is presented in alphabetical order. Please let us know if there are other items or organisations that can be added to the list.

NOTE: Most organisations will only accept items that are clean, in working order, meet Australian standards and are gently used. If it’s not something you would proudly pass on to a family member or friend, then please reconsider whether it’s suitable to donate to a charity.

Appliances and Whitegoods

Bags and Backpacks

Bikes

Where Can I Donate
Western Sydney Cycling Network

Bodily Bits

Where Can I Donate
Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Books

Where Can I Donate

Bras

Where Can I Donate

Car Seats, Boosters and Capsules

Children’s Clothes, Toys and Baby Equipment

Where Can I Donate

Clothing – Business

Clothing – General

Where Can I Donate
A pile of “fast fashion” Photo credit: ABC’s “War on Waste”

Australians consume a huge quantity of “fast fashion” and only a small amount of clothing donated to major charities will be recycled as wearable garments.  The volume of donations coming through is just too much. And much of it is poor quality. If your clothing donation is good quality and in excellent condition, it’s preferable to donate directly to someone in need.  Rather than go to landfill or be turned into rags, it is more likely to have a second chance to be worn. See our clothing donation checklist.

For clothing that is no longer in wearable condition, and to donate for textile recycling/use as rags:

Clothing – Maternity

Food

Where Can I Donate
Non-perishable food donations…just no baked beans, please!

Fresh food and/or meals:

Non-perishable/food hamper items:

Where Can I Donate
ShareWaste helps connect food scraps with people needing compost

Food scraps/compost:

Furniture and Household Items

Where Can I Donate
Charity retail store

Garden Supplies

Where Can I Donate
Bruce Miller Reserve Community Garden

Glasses (Eye)

Mattresses

Nappies

Where Can I Donate
The Nappy Collective collects nappies twice a year

Shoes

Stationery / Craft Supplies

Toiletries / Sanitary Items

Towels, Blankets and Other Linen

For items that are still good to be used for their original intended purpose (all items):

Where Can I Donate
Old towels and blankets are always needed at animal shelters and vets

For items that are old or worn and suitable for repurposing into new item/s:

Where Can I Donate
Boomerang Bags

Wedding Dresses

  • Angel Gowns Australia (not currently taking donations)

Winter Items

Wool / Yarn

Where Can I Donate
Wrap With Love

Grassroots Community Organisations

Many local grassroots organisations don’t have a set “wish list” of items they accept on a continuous basis.  Rather, their requests are dependent on the needs of the current clients they are supporting. As a result of lack of storage space, most will specify items for immediate donation to families or individuals in need.

You can be certain your items are going directly to people with a real and immediate need.

How to Donate to Grassroots Organisations

Follow the organisations on social media, particularly if you have common or larger household items you wish to rehome (eg beds and bedding, furniture, appliances, clothing, kid’s and baby gear etc). When the organisation posts a current need, respond directly with the items you can offer.

Many places can’t accept electrical goods

Local Organisation Suggestions

  • Dandelion Support Network – supports vulnerable families by providing material goods, in particular new and excellent quality used baby gear, nursery furniture, children’s clothes and toys.
  • Friends With Dignity – works with a network of refuges and community services to provide critical and practical services for people who are displaced due to domestic violence. Items are accepted on “as needed” basis to transform their sanctuaries, including bedding, kitchen items, toiletries and laundry items.
  • The Generous & The Grateful – connects generous donations of everyday household items with people who have faced extreme adversity, including those escaping domestic violence, individuals and families experiencing homelessness, youth at risk, and people seeking asylum. Priority items in order of greatest need are mattresses, fridges, washing machines, bed frames, TVs, tables  and chairs, and lounges.
  • Give and Take – assists victims of domestic violence, people experiencing homelessness, and families facing financial hardship. Requests are often related to items for the home including beds, mattresses, kitchen appliances, house decor, non-perishable food, and petrol vouchers.
  • GIVIT – acts as a portal to connect those who “have” with those who “need”. Charities list items that their clients need. You can search and donate in response to these specific requests. You can also register your own items so charities can see your offers.
  • THE MOVEMENT Sydney – a direct-giving Facebook group that links people who wish to give with those who are in need. Requests are varied including clothing, toiletries, groceries, and furniture. Members can ask to be considered for items, and it is then up to the “giver” to decide who they wish their item/s to go to. Arrangements are made between the two parties for collection (similar to a buy/sell page).
  • Mummies Paying It Forward – supports local, community-based charities to provide essential items to those most in need including household items, toiletries, clothing, nursery and kid’s items.
  • Mums 4 Refugees – provides practical assistance to asylum seekers by conducting donation drives to collect and distribute material aid.
  • Ward Angels – aims to make life as easy and comfortable as possible for families and sick children in hospital by providing comfort, support and distraction. Requests can include emergency toiletries, books, games & DVDs, nappies, formula, emergency clothing for children and adults.

Large National Charities

Donating in bulk to large national charities can save time, especially relevant if you have many items to donate. These charities have a retail presence in many suburban areas:

They accept second hand items that are either distributed directly to people in need, or are sold in their retail stores. Most importantly, selling to the general public generates revenue to financially support charitable works, community services and programs.

How to Donate to Large National Charities

First of all, before loading up the boot of your car, check that the charity will accept your items. For example, some may not be able to take electrical items due to not having access to a qualified technician who can test and tag the items.

Where Can I Donate
Check the charity will accept your items before loading up your car

NEVER leave items in front of a store if it is closed. Donations should only be left when the store is open. Give your items directly to a staff member unless otherwise specified. Likewise don’t leave items on the ground beside a charity donation bin. If it’s full, come back another time. Or take your donation directly to the charity’s retail store.

Where Can I Donate
Illegal dumping

Items left outside charity premises is considered ILLEGAL DUMPING. Not only do you run the risk of your donated items being ruined by bad weather or vandalism, it costs charities hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to dispose of unwanted items.

Where Can I Donate
Illegal dumping at donation bins

Please note that most of the staff at charity stores are volunteers so kindness is appreciated.

An added bonus is the charity may offer a collection service for large bulky items.


About Donating

Donating items you no longer require is a great way to “pay it forward” and help someone in need. It also diverts unnecessary waste from landfill, encourages sustainable living and helps clear your home of clutter.

Where Can I Donate
Declutter your house

Donation Guidelines

When donating items for a second chance at life with a new owner, it is important to note that most charities only accept goods that are:

  • clean
  • meet Australian standards
  • are in a gently used condition

Charities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to discard broken, dirty and useless donations. Please don’t add to their costs. If something isn’t good enough to pass on to your friends, it’s probably unlikely someone else would have use for it either.

We recommend checking with the relevant organisation before you make your donation. Do they need these items? Are they in a suitable condition?

Donation Bins

Some charities provide donation bins in approved street and car park locations for the convenience of donors. However, not all donation bins are the same. If you want your donation to benefit a good cause and not go towards a for-profit enterprise, take note of which bin you place your items into.

Commercially Operated Donation Bins

Not all donation bins are charity bins. Of the estimated 10,000 donation bins in Australia (according to the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations), more than 35% are commercially operated. Unfortunately, many of these falsely appear to be charity ones. But they are operated on a for-profit basis, usually as part of the recycled clothing export business. This is also true of some free clothing collection services. On the surface, they appear to be operating as a charity. But when you research further, they sell (not donate) the clothes to people in developing countries for profit, or as rags/for textile recycling. Some may make payments to charitable organisations for the use of their name or logo to encourage your donation.

Charity Operated Donation Bins

Where Can I Donate
Charity operated donation bin

Look for donation bins that clearly state “charity operated” by known, registered charities for example The Smith Family.

Donations go to a central warehouse or other location for sorting. If the items are in excellent condition, they may be sold in a retail store or given directly to someone in need. Unsuitable items or excess stock may be sold as rags. Funds raised by charities from either selling the items in store, or as rags, are subsequently put towards programs that help people in need in the community.

Since the rise of Australia’s appetite for “fast fashion”, clothing has become one of the world’s fastest growing waste problems. So much so, that charities can’t hope to satisfactorily repurpose the mountains of clothing donations they receive. Much of it is poor-quality which is not fit for resale. So charities are left with the financial cost of discarding these items into landfill.


Clothing Donation Checklist

Ask yourself if you would feel comfortable donating the clothing to a friend.  Is it good quality and in good condition? And is it still “in fashion”? If yes, you can:

  • offer your items on a local pay it forward group
  • respond to a request from a local grassroots organisation for your particular items
  • donate your items in person to a staff member in a charity retail store

Or get creative and find ways to repurpose the items at home, eg. cut up old t-shirts to use as cleaning rags, make a quilt with the fabrics of different clothes, or make your own “no sew” reusable shopping bag. And long term, limit how much fashion you consume. Consider investing in a quality capsule wardrobe. Or at the very least slow down and aim to purchase quality over quantity.

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