The following article appeared in the “Tidy Times” column in the Letterkenny Leader on July 1st 2021.
In today’s world we often hear talk of ‘sustainability’. In previous times, an often used phrase was ‘reduce reuse recycle’. Tidy Towns as an organisation is very keen to promote both of these mantras. One great way that we can do our bit is through the use of charity shops. In these days of ‘fast fashion’, buying clothes from a charity shop is one way to save costs while helping to save the planet. Or it might be a place to buy pre-owned books, furniture or just about anything else you could wish for, often in good-as-new condition and always at a very reasonable price. The environment benefits greatly from both reducing the need to manufacture new goods and reducing the need to dispose of the used goods, particularly those which would go to landfill.
Meantime, the donor gets to clear out some space in their home. I once heard someone with a title along the lines of “Clutter consultant” (the mind boggles!) stating that if you don’t use an item of clothing for 6 months, then you don’t need it so chuck it out. I’m not sure I’d quite go that far, but certainly if you have a wardrobe full of clothes that aren’t likely to be worn again, why not have a good old clear-out.
Last but definitely not least, the charity gains some much needed income. Many charities have been seriously struggling for income this last year, and the impact of closing the shops was described as ‘seismic’ by one charity worker. I spoke to Eamonn of Good & New, who explained that the shop had been closed for 40 weeks, but accounts for most of the charity’s income. It was only due to having reserves that they were able to continue to operate, as they get no income at all from Government despite providing a vital service for cancer patients who are referred to Galway.
Without the service Good & New provide, cancer patients and their families would have to make their own way to Galway and find their own accommodation. Aside from the costs this would involve at a time when income may well be impacted negatively, there are also practicalities. For example, people who have radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer need to have 3 litres of liquid ‘on board’ in order for the treatment to be safe. This inevitably results in the need for a lot of pee breaks on the way home. With a specialist bus, stops can be made. With public transport the situation would be impossible to manage.
In Letterkenny we have a range of charity shops. For the most part, they accept donations of clothes, books, CDs, and in some cases they also accept furniture, jewellery bric-a-brac and small electricals. These include:-
- St Vincent DePaul (Lower Main Street) works to alleviate the impact of poverty on those most in need in our society, caring for the homeless and providing social support to enable people to help themselves.
- Irish Wheelchair Association (Glencar shopping centre) provide services for people with physical disabilities, including advice, community centres, and support with assisted living, housing, holidays and motoring.
- NCBI (Upper Main Street) offer services to people affected by sight loss. The advice and assistance they offer can be the difference between becoming isolated versus living a full life.
- Good & New Charity shop (Port Road) provides free transport to Galway for people requiring cancer treatment, and assists with accommodation. They also offer a drop-in centre to provide advice and support for people affected by cancer and their families.
- Animals In Need (Lower Main Street) rescue and rehome unwanted, injured and abandoned animals.
- Universal Books (Church Lane) are not a charity shop, but have an excellent selection of second hand books.
So do take the time to check out your local charity shops, either as a buyer or a donor. You might find something you’d love, or get rid of something you no longer love, and you’ll be benefitting some of the most deserving people in our society.