This group, formed originally by Des Peplinski, makes surplus household furnishings and clothing available to disadvantaged people in the Calgary area via a network of faith organizations and others, such as social workers who wish to help this segment of society. The internet makes this charity possible and efficient. Contacts are linked via email, and donors are matched up with recipients.
Why This System Instead Of Free On Kijiji
The contacts direct the items to disadvantaged folks; whereas, public websites allow anyone to get the items. Also, there is less risk to donors responding to folks referred by contacts.
The Network has about 400 contacts. About 150 are St. Stephen’s parishioners who have an interest in helping the less fortunate. The others are people from about 20 different faith communities and many secular people. All are on the email exchange list. These 400 individuals link with others in their social networks. Items are supplied to newcomers, orphanages, group homes for handicapped people, as well as disadvantaged individuals. Many immigrant associations and special interest groups are also involved including:
· Saint Vincent de Paul with 600 volunteers.
· Calgary Catholic Immigration Society with 200 volunteers.
· Medical Mercy: overseas medical support in very poor areas.
· Immigrant communities in Calgary that help each other, such as the Philippinos, Venezuelans, and Colombians.
· Addiction recovery organizations such as the Dream Centre.
When Does It Take Place or What Time Of The Year Is It Active?
This activity is ongoing year round. On average about two van loads of goods are exchanged during the week.
How it is done?
People contact The Network at HelpingOthers@shaw.ca and indicate what it is they need or what it is they have to donate, including perhaps a description, the dimensions and a photo. The 400 people on The Network read the request, and if they can respond they do directly to the person making the request, and they take it from there. No money ever changes hands.
Most donors are very grateful for this service, because they want their surplus items to go to someone in need rather than into landfill, and it often saves the donor the cost of renting and filling dumpsters.
Almost all the donated items are of good quality, and many are valuable, such as almost-new appliances and furniture. The Network has so many contacts that even large completely furnished houses have been “cleaned out” within a 24 hour deadline.