Questions From Good People – Donations and Volunteering

by Prince Of Petworth November 4, 2010 at 11:00 am 37 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user AWard Tour

“Dear PoP,

I recently upgraded my kitchen pots and pans, and want to get rid of my old ones. They’re a decent brand (Calphalon) and are about 4 years old. They have some normal wear and tear, but are still very functional.

I was hoping to donate them to charity, but I don’t have previous experience donating this kind of household item. Would a charity accept this kind of donation, or are there sanitary concerns with used cookware? I would, of course, make sure they were thoroughly cleaned first.

Assuming they’d be accepted, does anyone have a recommendation of a good charity? I currently live near the U-street corridor, and while I’d prefer to donate to an organization that serves my immediate community, I’m not opposed to other suggestions.”

Any good suggestions here? Perhaps Martha’s Table located at 2114 14th St, NW.

“Dear PoP,

I’m looking for ways to find out about all the volunteer opportunities (or at least some/many of them) in DC. I’m wondering if anyone in PoPville has ideas of where to find this information. I volunteer as a beer drinker at the Red Derby most days, but this is not so much fulfilling as it is filling to my belly and emptying to my wallet.”

How about the newly opened 826DC in Columbia Heights. Any other suggestions?

  • Xpert

    I volunteer with Greaterdc Cares. They have givaways too if you volunteer like free Redskins tickets!

    • I second Greater DC Cares. You can get on their weekly email to do individual volunteer events throughout the week.

  • Kalorini

    826DC is the way to go. Their volunteers are fun, young, energetic, and creative!

    Also, I had fun volunteering for the Washington Animal Rescue League when I first moved to DC.

  • Anonymous

    Try Green Door for the pots and pans. They collect all sorts of items for people getting back on their feet through their programs. I just received an email that one of their clients is looking for pots and pans. I don’t know if they accept used goods but it’s worth a shot.

    (202) 464-9200

    • Anonymous

      I second this. Green Door has a running list of needs that its clients have, usually very specific. They also run a few group homes. It’s pretty likely they can find a home for good quality, gently used kitchen implements.

  • CaliGirl

    A Wider Circle, a Silver Spring based non-profit, accepts kitchen items. You can find more info at http://www.awidercircle.org. They sometimes do home pick up depending on the items. They also have a variety of volunteer opportunities – picking up furniture donations, tutoring, programs at public housing.

    • K St.

      I second A Wider Circle, they’re really a great organization- they help families that have recently gotten out of homeless shelters get on their feet.

      And my girlfriend is on their advisory board!

  • Elle

    The Capital Area Food Bank always needs more volunteers. 826 is great, but has their trainings booked up for the foreseeable future. Idealist always has a couple of volunteer projects posted for the DC area — I usually have one or two new ones in my inbox every day.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters for the DC area also has an urgent need for male volunteers. (Particularly those that qualify as minority, but I’m not sure they’re that picky.) You do need to own or be able to use a car on a regular basis to do BBBS, though. (Zipcar membership counts.)

    • SDC

      I just volunteered at the Food Bank last night! The people there are great — I was part of a group of about 25 and we had a great time with each other while helping a great organization. It’s a great feeling to know that our work last night will be helping area residents as early as today!

  • Jay’O

    Is this the correct photo for this post?

  • Jay’O

    My fault, I didn’t realise 826DC was this place in the photo!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve looked for volunteer opportunities before, and it’s really hard to find ones that have night or weekend hours available. If they do, they expect you to work large blocks of time, like 8 hours on a Sunday. I don’t mean to sound greedy, but I don’t want it to take up half my weekend! Do any of these places let you work, say, from 7-9 on a weeknight?

  • p’worth

    Martha’s Table will be collecting items Saturday at the Punk Rock Flea Market:
    Saturday, November 6 · 12:30pm – 5:00pm
    St. Stephens Church
    1525 Newton St NW

    Clothing: Season appropriate clothing (winter) that is clean, folded and stored in shopping bags or boxes.

    Accessories: Handbags, shoes, belts and unused underwear and intimate apparel.

    Toys: Educational toys and complete games and puzzles.

    Books: New and next-to-new adult and children’s educational books. (Please, no textbooks, travel books, or old encyclopedias.)

    Household Items: Dinnerware, flatware, and glassware (preferably in sets), clean cookware, bake ware and small appliances. Also, lamps, end-tables and small chairs.

    Domestics: Bedding (preferably in sets), towels and table linens.
    Electronics: Small radios, TVs and other small electronics that are in working condition. (Please no televisions or monitors that are not flat screen.)

    Toiletries and cosmetics: Unused toiletries and cosmetics in original packaging. Hotel shampoos, liquid soaps and conditioners.

  • j

    There are numerous volunteer opportunities that you can find on idealist.org. You can search by city and by zipcode and by demographic you are interested in working with.

    I volunteer with the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project http://www.playtimeproject.net/ and they have opportunities post-work hours.

  • samantha

    The Washington Literacy Council is a great volunteering opportunity. The Council trains volunteers on how to be literacy tutors and you meet for an hour (or hour and a half) weekly in the evenings.

  • another guy named chris

    Thanks to all for the info!

  • amyfp

    I second the onebrick.org idea. It’s really flexible and there are always options for the weekend and each session is a one time only deal. No extended commitment.

    • Anonymous

      In my experience I’ve found One Brick to not be very helpful, and they absolutely bombard your inbox with emails!

  • Bloomingdale

    Community of Hope has a transitional shelter for families located at Girard and 14th, NW, and they are often in need of household goods for families moving into the shelter. Pots and pans, dishes, silverware, and cups go directly to the families living in the shelter.


  • Here is a pretty comprehensive list of Columbia Heights volunteer opportunities. Also, everyone PLEASE save the date of April 2, 2011 for the CH Great Day of Service (more information on that on the same page, and lots more info forthcoming):


  • hip-hop anonymous

    Central Union Mission! Located at 14th & R, always accepting donated goods and volunteers.

  • jess

    http://www.volunteermatch.org is a great place to find volunteer opportunities as well!

  • MJ

    Great information. Thanks for posting.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve volunteered with Sunday Suppers and it’s a great experience. Not a huge time commitment, and you can do it whatever Sunday you have a chance. You bascially can volunteer to prepare food, and/or help serve it for a couple hours. Great way to get out and meet people you probably wouldn’t interact with otherwise.

    • jumpingjack

      I used to volunteer with Sunday Suppers when I was in high school in the early 90s. It was a fantastic experience. I’m so happy to see that they’re still going strong after the founder moved to Florida. It really is a special and unique experience — unlike at a lot of food programs, you get to meet and spend time with the clients.

  • Dr Pangloss

    I live in the city–specifically near Reservation 13–and pay DC taxes. That means I do more for the poor and needy than 98% of the residents of MD and VA.

    • Anonymous

      MD and VA don’t have poor and needy people?

      • Dr Pangloss

        Sure. A very, very small percentage compared to DC. DC is where the region’s most destitute go when they fall through the cracks. Been that way for a long time. Something like 15% of DC residents live in households with annual income of less than $10k. For MD and VA, that’s something like 5%.

        If you’re from MD or VA, you should wake up every morning thanking DC taxpayers for taking care of your hungry, homeless, and poor.

  • 14th St Heights

    Green Door: Independence for People with Mental Illness. Robert is a member of Green Door that has faithfully worked on his treatment plan goals for the past few years. With winter on its way, Robert is afraid that if he does not have the proper winter attire he will not be able to attend his appointments and continue successful working towards his goals. He is requesting a men’s winter coat size XL or XXL and men’s snow pants size 38 waist and 30 leg. Alice is a Green Door member that struggles with severe depression. A great outlet that brings her joy and purpose is cooking. She would love to have pots and pans to cook with as well as bed linen for a full bed. Other Wish List Request:
    · Metro cards donations ($1.00 or more).
    . Safeway/Giant gift cards for members without income who are awaiting approval of their benefits.
    · Paul is need of a rain jacket (men’s L) and belt (any color) size 38
    · TV Converter boxes
    · Teresa has landed a job and needs women’s dress shirts(size L) and black pants (size 16)
    · Pots and pans
    · Pocket calendars
    · Reginald loves to laugh and would like DVD player to watch funny movies
    Items should be fully functioning, new or gently used. Because space at Green Door is very limited, we can only accept items on the Wish List. Please contact Katie Wolff at [email protected] or 202-462-4092 x336 before donating. We do not accept furniture at Green Door; however we have a partnership with A Wider Circle. If you wish to donate furniture or other large items please contact A Wider Circle at 301-657-1010. (A Wider Circle provides limited area pick up services.)

  • Cat

    Food & Friends is a great organization. You can see about their voluteer orientations online at http://www.foodandfriends.org
    Here is a little information about Food & Friends –
    Along with nutrition counseling, Food & Friends prepares, packages and delivers meals and groceries to more than 1,400 people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses throughout Washington, DC, 7 counties of Maryland and 7 counties and 6 independent cities in Virginia. Since 1988, Food & Friends has provided food and companionship to our clients, their loved ones and caregivers.

  • Ariella Kadosh-Weiser.

    I love how all these folks are familiar with Green Door. Thank You.

  • wondering

    I second Washington Literacy Council.

  • astrange

    Park View Kids Zone!!! We offer programming for kids in the Park View neighborhood 6 days a week! You can volunteer through DC Cares or you can email me at [email protected] for ways to get involved. We are completely volunteer and donation based. We do not have the luxury of funding at this point. We are simply neighbors who are meeting the needs within our community. We have been very successful and have seen some wonderful results in our kid’s lives! We have about 50 families that we serve in the Park View area. Our kids are awesome and I promise you will have a blast volunteering with them!

    Park View Kids Zone:

    1.Provides after-school, weekend, and summer programming for children in the Park View neighborhood

    2.One-on-one mentoring and tutoring

    3.Provides activities to promote learning, creativity, and a healthy life style:
    •Arts and Crafts
    •Organized Sports and group games
    •Life skills (cooking, community gardening, sowing, etc.)
    •Supervised play time
    •Snacks and meals

    4.Provide special events
    •Field Trips
    •Camps and summer programs
    •Community Service and Events
    •Training Opportunities for parents

    We are located inside the Field House at Park View Rec Center near Princeton PL and Warder St NW.

    Some Immediate needs:


    •Tutors/Mentors during the week 3:30 to 6pm
    •Guitar or other musical instrument teachers for our Saturday program.
    •Cheerleading or Jazz teachers (Have a bunch of little girls who really want to do this- Even have uniforms & pom pom’s). This could be during the week or on Saturdays.

    Donations Needed:

    •We really need an electric stove so that we can start up our cooking class again! A stove would allow us to provide hot meals for our Saturday program and 2 dinners during the week for our after-school kids!
    •We need pots and pans, kitchen utensils, baking pans, casserole dishes, etc… We need everything to set up a kitchen.
    •We would like to paint the interior of our building over the Christmas break. I am happy to paint myself, but we need help purchasing the paint. Maybe Home Depot Gift Cards?
    •We can always use art supplies, children’s books (all ages), Snacks, and food for Saturday lunches!

    If you would like more information you can contact me, Angela Strange at 615-496-0834 or email at [email protected].

    * To the OP I would love the pots and pans if you’re cool with donating with us. If you email me the address or a place to meet up I would be happy to come and pick them up.* :)


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