Your spring cleaning guide to giving back

Next to New Year’s, with its fresh-year-fresh-start “let’s clean up and de-clutter” attitude, spring is THE time to think about hitting the reset button. We’re ready to shake off winter and embrace the reawakening of our hibernation-dulled senses, filled with a renewed energy and, pardon the pun, spring in our step.

If clearing things out appeals to you this spring, here are just a few of many ways your previously loved treasures can find a new home. And if you simply want to give back, you can do that, too.

Clothing and household items


Salvation Army Thrift Store

613-247-1435 ext. 228

Help give hope to those in need by looking in your closets and throughout your home for gently used clothing and household goods that will make a difference in someone else's life. Items can be dropped off at your nearest drop bin or thrift store – there are nine locations stretching from Bell’s Corners to Orléans – or you can arrange for pick-up. There are certain items that cannot be accepted. Check the website for more information.

St. Vincent de Paul

1273 Wellington St. W., 613-722-7166 or 1620 Merivale Rd.

Helping Ottawa’s needy and newcomers to the city, St. Vincent de Paul provides clothing, food and household goods to the less fortunate. Donations of smaller items can be dropped off at one of several drop boxes across the city or at one of the stores. For larger items, pick-up can be arranged. See the website for details.

Food


Ottawa Food Bank

1317 Michael St., 613-745-7001

With a simple mission to help people get beyond hunger, the food bank serves more than 40,000 people every month. You can help by donating time, food, or money. If there’s food in your cupboards that you know won’t get eaten, consider cleaning house and donating it.

The Ottawa Mission

35 Waller St., 613-234-1144

Although financial contributions are the easiest way to help the Mission, which provides food, shelter, clothing and support to the city’s needy, the charity is always glad to receive food and other items that help it provide shelter for around 235 people every night.

For women and children


Youville Centre

150 Mann Ave., 613-231-5150 ext. 286

Dedicated to helping teen mothers and their children, the Youville Centre is always looking for donations of clothing, toys, certain baby gear, toiletries, diapers and more. Check their site for a list of what is most needed, as well as what cannot be accepted. Donations can be dropped off or picked up. The site also offers other helpful ideas for donating, both to the centre and to other organizations.

Harmony House

613-233-3386, [email protected]

Harmony House is a second-stage women’s shelter, the only one of its kind in the city. It provides safe, affordable transitional housing for women and children who are survivors of violence. They often come to Harmony House with few, if any, possessions. There are restrictions on what can be donated. Check the website for details.

Furniture


Habitat for Humanity ReStore

West: 7 Enterprise Ave.; 613-225-8400 or East: 768 Belfast Rd.; 613-744-7769

Although typically associated with more permanent household features such as cabinets and other renovation supplies, the ReStore also accepts furniture and other items. Proceeds from sales go toward overhead costs of operating the Ottawa Habitat affiliate, which has a mandate to help the working poor become homeowners. Certain items are not accepted and you’re asked to call before donating to ensure there is space for your items. Pick-up can be arranged for a fee.

Helping with Furniture

613-745-1348 or donations-coordinator@helpingwithfurniture.org

Helping with Furniture provides gently used furniture and household items for those who are restarting their lives because of situations of hardship, particularly refugee claimants. Pick-up is possible in some areas, otherwise you can fill out a form on their site to arrange a drop-off.

Matthew House Ottawa (The Furniture Bank)

340 Legget Dr., Kanata, Door 53, 613-240-6680

The Furniture Bank helps an average of 50 families a month through its mission to distribute quality used furniture and household goods to Ottawa’s marginalised population, including refugees, those transitioning from institutions, half-way houses, and shelters, and others who have lost their possessions. Items can be dropped off or, for a fee and with prior notice, can be picked up.