Jan 11, 2009

Troubled over the leftovers from the spring cleaning exercise you've just completed?

It's the time of the year again. CNY! And of course before we start to indulge in the 2 public holidays with great food, hongbao, visits and well-deserved rest, we have to do spring cleaning.

As the chinese saying goes, 旧的不去 新的不来, are you cracking your head over where you can donate/ give away/ dispose of your old stuff?

As many of you would know, I volunteer at Salvation Army, at the Upper Serangoon Family Thrift Shop, as part of the Salvation Army Library Enterprise aka SALE.

Thus, I often receive offline and online enquiries on donation of stuff to Salvation Army, and I decided, why not have a FAQ on this topic. Hope this mini FAQ will help you answer your initial queries. :)

Q: What can I donate to Salvation Army?
A: Anything! At the thrift shop, they sell clothes, books, electrical appliances, furniture, crockery, etc etc. Almost anything you can think of, are available for sale at Salvation Army.

However, do be considerate and only donate those working items, instead of items which are already spoilt and just need discarding.

Q: How do I go about donating my old stuff?
A: You can drop your stuff at Salvation Army collection points, or you can email to donor@SMM.salvationarmy.org for bulky items.

Personally, I have packed my old but workable items (clothes, books, electrical appliances) into boxes and arranged for a collection by the Salvation Army before. They would require a list of items you are donating, so do prepare your list.

Disclaimer: that's about 2-3 years back, so I'm not quite sure if there are now other SOPs in place. :P

Q: Where do my donation of old stuffs go to?
A: Generally speaking, they will be distributed for sale at the thrift shops. And as Upper Serangoon Family Thrift Shop is the biggest 2nd hand book store among the thrift shops that Salvation Army has, most of the donated books will arrive there.

We would then price, sort and display them for sale. Proceeds will go to the beneficiaries under Salvation Army.

Q: Will the books go to the less priviledged in children's homes/ poorer countries overseas, etc?
A: I'm not too sure about that, but we do hear of cases whereby student groups work with Salvation Army to select books which they intend to bring overseas to set up libraries/ help the poor. We also have regular buyers who select books for other volunteering activities, such as story telling for the less priviledged children in Singapore.

Q: I'm interested to buy books. How's the collection like?
A: The collection is really wide. We receive fiction, non-fiction, comics, Chinese. English, even foreign language books like French, Japanese, etc; even medical books, law books, Geographical Magazines, Archie's comics, recipe books, text books, assessment books, etc.

Q: I'm looking for a particular series. Do you have the complete series?
A: As it's on donation basis, we can't control the supply of books that we receive, so sometimes, the series don't come complete too. We will try to keep a lookout and place serial books/ comics together though, when we spot them in subsequent sessions.

Q: What do you do at SALE?
A: We have our regular SALE activities on Saturday mornings, from 9.30am - 12.30pm.

From the boxes of donated books which we receive, we will sieve out books which are torn and tattered (non-saleable conditions), sort books by categories (eg. Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children, Comics, etc), price them and shelve them.

Occasionally, we also have book fairs, depending on Salvation Army's tie-ups with other organisations. Visit us on facebook or read about us on Salvation Army's blog.

Q: That's interesting! Can I join SALE too?
A: Yes! If you're interested, you can email Salvation Army at volunteer@smm.salvationarmy.org The Salvation Army staff will liaise with you following that.

P.S: Nevertheless, if you're a friend of mine, I don't mind showing you the way around on one of those sessions I am going. :P

Disclaimer: The above is drafted purely based on my personal observations as a volunteer of SALE, thus if you have any further enquries, or need more detailed, confirmed SOPs of how things are done, pls contact the Salvation Army directly. :P

Hope the FAQ helps!