Donating in DC: Easy Ways to Give

A few years ago, I took bags of stuff to the donation drop-off boxes at 18th and California St. NW (shown here) and had a surprising interaction. The charity specifically requests clothing and I had nervously included things like old earphones and worn-out throw pillows. At the drop site, several homeless people asked if they could go through my bags before I put them in the donation boxes. They were thrilled to take my old earphones, mismatched pillows, and clothing. It was startling but wonderful to see my discarded items fought over and immediately put to use by people who needed them. So below are suggestions for donating items you may have and not need to local charities...

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- Art schools like the Washington Studio School in Dupont Circle will gladly take your chipped dishes and other damaged household items, which are great for use in still lifes.
- Old towels, linen, blankets, and pet-related items can always be used by animal rescue organizations, like the Washington Humane Society and the Washington Animal Rescue League.
- The Smithsonian National Zoo will take used household tools (drills, hammers, etc.) and used or new nightlights, mirrors, and other items.
- Donate non-perishable food items to the Capitol Area Food Bank and Miriam's Kitchen.
- Christ House will put your old CD's and musical instruments to good use for ill patients.
- The DC Coalition of the Homeless will pick up your old sofas, beds, and dressers.

Do you recommend any specific charities? Have you had any nice volunteer or donating experiences you'd like to share?
See more needed items for local DC charities by clicking here.
Photos from Penn Quarter Living.