Monday, January 31, 2011

Since When Did Used Clothing Become Lucrative?

I love to reduce, reuse and recycle, and there's "redistribute".  An article I read suggests that
redistribute may become the "5th R" and become a key form of sustainable commerce.  It's part of the new movement to collaborative consumption.
I like this trend.

However... I have noticed that whereas I used to have to drive all over town wondering "now where did I see that donation bin??" with my bag of treasures, there is now a donation bin on almost every street corner!  Since I love to read almost anything in print, I'm one of those potential donors who actually reads the signs on the bins.  Sure, there's the usual "don't dump your furniture here!" and "clothing only!" but the fine print reveals what I believe we should pay attention to.

Check out WHO is going to profit from your worn-out, stretched out and/or in good condition but just doesn't fit anymore clothing.  I've seen an interesting array of groups, from Diabetes and Cancer Society, to Hindu and even cultish-sounding groups.  Even more disconcerting, are the bins that purport that "a portion of what is raised will go to support a charity".  Which charity, what portion? That could be anywhere from .001% upwards.

So, join the collaborative consumption movement and redistribute your stuff.  Just be discreet.

By the way, Welcome Home is the recipient of many wonderful donations of slightly used linens, winter clothing and household items.  Check out our newly formed Furniture Redistribution Project- a result of your generosity, Apple Self-Storage's donation of a unit, and an emerging team of volunteers- to see what God is doing!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Caregiver Syndrome

Caregiver syndrome... is a condition of exhaustion, anger, rage, or guilt that results from unrelieved caring for a chronically ill dependent. Wikipedia
 I've been experiencing aspects of this syndrome, but for a very different reason. You see, last year I started looking around for peers to connect with.  As a director of a shelter for refugees, my world is very large and very small.  I'm delighted that I now connect with an Ontario Shelter Providers Network.  And, I am so enriched by the connections I've made with fellow Refugee Ministry leaders across the globe.  And, I'm so much more enlightened by the daily updates I get from the Canadian Council for Refugees.  But, I struggle with increasing cynicism and despair.

That's when I remembered that fighting political battles is actually NOT what I was created for! That while I need to be aware and intercede, and use my voice where God opens doors, politics actually kill my spirit.  That the Body of Christ includes those who ARE called to take on the powers that be.  God often speaks through me through songs, and the other night I went to sleep humming "He's got the whole world in His hands."  Hmmmm...

So, thanks for the updates from Athens- in the midst of a horribly unjust system, I'm excited about the miraculous ways God is bringing refugees to Himself!  And, thanks for keeping me up to date regarding the changing Canadian laws which negatively affect the refugees I love.  And, thanks for providing a community of peers that have clues about preventing bed bugs, etc.  I'm really glad to broaden my world.

But, I'm called to this little house on King St East, where a wonderfully diverse group of refugees are being welcomed into a family, with a committed staff team and volunteers that just plain love Jesus.  For the sake of my own well-being and those I'm called to lead- I'm going to start with the little patch I've been given and change the world one room and one precious soul at a time.

(Painting by Ron Dicianni)