Thursday, September 15, 2016

Loving Hearts

Written By: Meredith

As previously mention in my Cash In On Your Castoffs Pt. 1 post, I wanted to bring up my donation group again and go into more detail... Loving Hearts of Seminole and Surrounding Counties.

We are Central Florida based, more like Seminole and surrounding counties. About 96% of our members live within Seminole County. How does it work? Basically, if you were to donate items to Goodwill, for instance, those donations are turned into profit. If you donated to a donation group via an administrators residence - whichever admin you donate to would then sort out the items and post them on our Facebook group and donate to a shelter the items that we can't, such as stained/torn or unclaimed. Various local shelters benefit greatly from any donations that we either can't post or are unclaimed within a few weeks. We accept everything...within reason. The group has waves of donations...some weeks are slow and some are EXTREMELY busy. My living room sometimes looks like a bomb went off, but everything is organized according to how I posted it on the group. Baby stuff, kids' stuff, clothes, shoes, toys, accessories, adult clothing and shoes, appliances... you name it. I'm sure we've had it donated and posted at one point... including large furniture, like dressers and beds.

The group currently has 15 rules and guidelines that members must abide by. Pick up schedules that they are responsible for. No show agreements that they agree to when they join the group. So much more. I started it last year to help provide clothing for my son and it has grown into a great way to give back to the community, including needy families.

Two of the biggest shelters that benefit from our donations are Hope Helps, Inc., which is located in Oviedo, FL. They assist with various homeless shelters around Central Florida. The other shelter is known as SafeHouse of Seminoe and they assist with battered women and children. Last year, as well as this year, any of our remaining school supply donations were donated to SafeHouse to help prepare the children for the upcoming school year.

Loving Hearts is not a non-profit organization. We literally operate from our own homes. My friend, A (no name), is another admin for the group. She will take half of the large donations and helps me post items on the group when she's able. We have anywhere from 20 to 100 members picking up donations they've claimed and they drop off any donations they may have, including plastic bags to hold all their items.

The group is a true blessing, even for me. I'm a single mom with limited income. I have to budget on when I can buy clothes and shoes for Mark. A majority of his clothes and toys are from the group. Once he's outgrown them, I donate them back to the group. As should everyone else, but that's not always the case. We get the occasional scammer or the occasional member who will turn around the sell whatever donation they receive. There are some questionable groups out there and then there are some amazing groups out there. You have to be careful with who you trust. Those members, if caught and we have proof, are confronted of their wrong doings, banned from the group and mentioned to other donation groups admins around Central Florida. We can't catch them all, but we can at least try to protect our members from those individuals.

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