Most people want to do more to help others. Given the hard time much of the country has gone through economically, it is not hard to find people who need help. Many of us want to do what we can to give to organizations that help military families. The military support offered to veterans is often not enough. In 2012, unemployment among veterans was 9.9%. This was at least 2% higher than the rate for the rest of the population. That rate jumps to 20.4% for veterans who are aged 18 to 24 years old. We can do more to help these heroes. When we make donations to charities for military families, we also help ourselves.
Selfish Reasons to Donate Clothes and Other Items to Charity:
- Making charitable donations stimulates the reward center of the brain. The University of Oregon looked into how making charitable donations impacts the brain and found that the pleasure center is activated in a way that is similar to how it is stimulated by sex and drugs. When we make donations to charity, our brains release endorphins and dopamine, both produce feelings of pleasure. It may not be what we think of when we think of donating clothing to provide military support but it is a real personal benefit to making these donations.
- People who donate their stuff to charity are happier. Research at multiple universities from the University of California at Riverside to the University of Missouri at Columbia has found that people who give their stuff away or volunteer their time experience more feelings of contentment and joy that the people who do not. Other research in Germany has found that more generous people tend to enjoy life more than those who are less generous. When you live in a community where most of the people are generous with their belongings and time, you will be happier as well. Giving back to others and to your community is just a great way to lead a happier life.
- Donating can reduce your stress level. As a corollary to being happier and feeling more joy, people who make donations for non profit organizations experience less stress. Johns Hopkins University and the University of Tennessee both examined the stress levels of people who make donations and/or volunteer their time and they both found lower stress levels in people who give more than those who do not.
- People who are generous are also healthier. People who donate their used clothing and their time have lower blood pressure and suffer fewer complications and other problems from chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis. The immune systems in people who are generous with their time, money and stuff are stronger. According to Consumer Reports, when older people volunteer their time, they can improve their memory and cognitive abilities and have fewer problems with arthritis.
- You set a good example for others. Giving is contagious. When people see you doing something to provide military support to veterans and their families, for instance, they are more likely to do the same. That amplifies your generosity and builds community support. If you have children or are around children, setting an example like this can teach them to be more generous as well.
- Organize a company wide donation drive to boost morale. When businesses organize and encourage donation drives at the company, it does a lot for team building and to boost morale. People who donate individually feel better about themselves but when people do it together, everyone gets an ego boost and feels better about working with their colleagues on a project that helps others in the community.
- People who donate their used clothes pay less in taxes. No matter what you donate, your used clothes or your household items, you can take all of that off of your taxes. If you make any donations that are worth more than $250, the Internal Revenue Service does require some documentation so keep that in mind.
Most of us feel better about ourselves and our communities when we give back. Making donations is even more rewarding when we know what we are donating goes directly for military support for the children and families of veterans.