I want to tap the collective knowledge of a non-religious community so maybe someone can help.  I have a whole wardrobe of women's clothing that I want to donate but I do not want to donate it to a religious based charity.  My wife died 9 months ago and I may finally be ready to donate her clothes.  I do not want to support a homophobic organization that feeds and spreads hatred and prejudice through the country.  I don't want them to get the credit for whoever this donations helps.  I have tried  contacting the local women's support group for  battered wives .  They don't answer and they don't call back. 

Does anybody know of a good secular charity to donate clothing and purses and a number of other things I want to donate of hers.

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Women's Refuge is my charity of choice, but, way back when I decided that, I also found it very difficult to make contact. Later I was told that, all too often, genuine-sounding men make contact with Women's Refuge for less-than-genuine motives - like trying to track down an "errant" wife - or worse. They find it easier to simply not deal with men if there's a choice. For instance I was told, before establishing acquaintanceship with some contacts, "if you want to make a donation, go to the web site". Of course a pervading attitude of distrust for men is off-putting, but it's fully understandable.

Get a woman friend to establish some initial contacts for you.

I'm not sure what would be wrong with donating it to a religious charity if it comes to it. Most of them do benefit the poor in various ways. The real criterion, I would think is how efficient they are in delivering the clothing to the needy. Many of these charities will actually mend clothing in need of repair to maximize the amount of goods available to those who need it. 

If there is one area where religious organizations are generally beyond reproach, this would seem to be it. 

To put it in a microcosmic way, if you knew a person C who needed a winter coat, would it really matter if your atheist friend A or your religious friend B delivered it as long as it got to C?

I guess the biggest issue I would have with it is that then God and the religious organization gets the credit for helping person C.  Then person C thinks that their message is good and correct so when religious friend B then says gays are evil and many of the vile hateful things they say person C is more inclined to believe that the message is correct. 

I don't to bestow any more credibility to them than they already have.

I think that the person getting the clothes is paying very very little attention to who gives it and more attention to having clothes to actually wear.

Nonsense, that's exactly the message Christians try to pass along. When somebody helps you out, you feel grateful, and when somebody tells you they're able to do good only because of Jesus, of course the recipient may want to check out their church and get sucked in. I think wanting a secular charity is a perfectly reasonable choice.

"Then person C thinks that their message is good and correct..."

Not necessarily. Don't underestimate the mental faculty of the recipient; they may be perfectly aware that there need be no correlation between a warm coat and the charity's message of woo.

Yes Ed...that is possible. I hope the clothes find a happy home one day!

I'm sorry for the loss of your wife, Mike. I also appreciate the effort you're making to avoid supporting a religious charity with questionable ethics.

If you're ready to donate some of your wife's belongings, I recommend Goodwill Industries. Goodwill was originally founded by a Methodist Minister in 1902, but today is recognized as a secular charity engaged in non-religious activities. Note the mission statement:

Mission Statement: Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.

[...] Goodwills meet the needs of all job seekers, including programs for youth, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, criminal backgrounds and other specialized needs. Last year, Goodwill helped more than 6.7 million people train for careers in industries such as banking, IT and health care, to name a few — and get the supporting services they needed to be successful — such as English language training, additional education, or access to transportation and child care.

Goodwill's business model (of using donated clothes and personal items along with thrift stores) has the misfortune of resembling and being mistaken for its crackpot religious counterpart, The Salvation Army. The SA, with its questionable political activism and thinly veiled hatred of LGBT people, is definitely one you want to avoid. Note the mission statement below and the contrast that with the one above:

Mission Statement: The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

I had no idea Goodwill was technically 'secular.' My local store always has Christian music playing, so I just assumed. And the SA seems so harmless with their ubiquitous red-kettle bell-ringers at Christmas. You learn something every day.


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