Nowadays, the needs are – well, let’s be honest – overwhelming, and the pocketbooks and wallets are often in inverse proportions.
You don’t, however, necessarily have to write a check. One of the hottest trends is the GIK, or “gift in kind.”
According to Robert Stowell, Gift in Kind coordinator for Housatonic Habitat for Humanity in Danbury, GIKs like donated services or products are what Housatonic Habitat thrives on: “Most charities are looking for strictly cash donations, but Housatonic Habitat is grateful for avenues of giving that allow us to be inclusive.
“For example, every year a local manufacturing company donates its excess inventory to the ReStore, Housatonic Habitat’s thrift warehouse that sells to the public at a fraction of the cost of the big box prices. All sales benefit the organization.”
Stowell encourages companies that have canceled orders or have changed vendors to become GIK donors. “Other sources of GIk donations,” he adds,” include excess inventories, canceled orders or obsolete inventory. Scratch and dent merchandise is popular as donations from appliance stores.”
Stowell gives a shout-out to companies with home products and furniture manufactures. “We have received generous donations that includes dorm furniture from Western Connecticut University and outdated hotel furnishings from Ethan Allen, the latter resulting in $100,000 in ReStore sales. Twenty-five percent of the cost of building is absorbed by business and trades donating materials and labor.”
Housatonic Habitat’s Executive Director Fran Normann reminds us “that small gifts are as significant as big buck ones…families cleaning out their attics, couples downsizing. For our Brush with Kindness program, which allows seniors to age at home, donations of grab bars and smoke detectors have been invaluable. The installation of a faucet is sometimes the answer to a prayer. No donation is too small.”
Housatonic Habitat’s ReStore is open for business online. For more, visit housatonichabitat.org.
– Georgette Gouveia