As of 2014, there were an estimated 22 million military veterans living in the United States and as of 2014, 3.8 million of those veterans were living with a service-connected disability.
There are many ways to go about helping disabled veterans and military families in need. Organizations such as Purple Heart Pickup accept a myriad of items that are donated to military families. Of course there are many organizations that accept clothing donations and many that support charities for wounded soldiers.
Many donated products are given new life in developing nations where individuals purchase used American goods for pennies of their original price. Internationally, more than 14.3 million tons of donated American textiles help clothe people and families worldwide.
If you’re considering helping military families or disabled veterans, there are many reasons to do so. Not only do donations of clothing and other items go a long way in helping people in need, donating is better for the environment and can be used as a write-off when tax season rolls around.
With that in mind, here are 10 reasons your donations to veterans and to military families can benefit those in need:
- The average American buys at least twice as many pieces of clothing as they did 20 years ago.
- About 4.7 billion pounds of clothing are donated by Americans each year.
- Even so, Americans only recycle or donate 15% of their used clothing on average.
- Americans send about 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills annually.
- Textiles account for 5% of municipal waste because only about 15% of them are ever recycled.
- Roughly 12 million tons of clothing and textiles are thrown away each year.
- If you live in an area with a one or two season climate and haven’t worn an item in six months, donating it might be a good option.
- In 2006, 2.5 billion pounds of fabric were kept from landfills by used-clothing purchases.
- 45% of recycled clothing is worn as secondhand clothing.
- Almost 100% of household textiles and clothing can be recycled regardless of condition.
More than being just a pile of statistics, all of the numbers above highlight one important thing: all of the things that you buy and get rid of on a daily basis can be better served being donated to people in need.
When it comes to donating clothing and used items for tax purposes, consider the following:
- Remember, any charitable donation worth more than $250 (including donations of clothing and household items) will require a receipt to write off on your taxes.
- Smart givers only support groups granted tax-exempt status under section 501© (3) of the IRS code.
- The IRS requires a qualified appraisal to be submitted with your tax return if you donate any single clothing item or household item that is not in good used condition or better and for which you donated more than $500.
Total giving to charitable donations was more than $350 billion in 2014. Additionally, a majority (70%) of social media users would take some kind of action in response to a friend posting a story about making a charitable donation, so the potential for even more donations to help disabled veterans is there via the Internet.
If you’re considering making donations of money, clothing or other items toward helping disabled veterans, there are many organizations that accept clothing donations to choose from. But it’s important to know exactly where your donations are going and if you donate money, how much of it is actually going to veterans and military families who need it.
Donations can be a huge help to military families and veterans, but there are many other things a person can do to show support:
- You can volunteer to place flag on grave sites.
- You can reach out to local military families in your community.
- You can visit with military families or veterans to offer a helping hand.
- You can go an old-fashioned route and write a letter of thanks to a family or a veteran.
Whether through donations or volunteer efforts or offering to help to around the house, there a lot of ways the average person can help military families and veterans. Don’t be afraid to lend a helping hand. You never know how much it might be appreciated.