Acushnet Philanthropy Factory Needs Community’s Help to Stock the Shelves
It’s time to donate that bag of clothes that have been sitting in your trunk for the past several months, and I know the perfect place to bring it.
Gifts to Give in Acushnet is focused on building a “new currency for philanthropy by building a more caring community” and they are looking to stock up on summer clothes for children.
Gives to Give
Jim Stevens created Gifts to Give 12 years ago in New Bedford and his passion project has since moved to a 60,000-square-foot facility on Slocum Road. Stevens lived most of his life as a self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur” but since 2009, his focus has been on connecting thousands of local children with philanthropic opportunities.
Gifts to Give focuses on child poverty, literacy, service to others and giving.
“I wanted to connect kids to giving and service because nobody is doing it,” said Stevens. “I was looking for a way for families to share their values with their children.”
Stevens saw an opportunity to create Gifts to Give as a helpful tool to combat child poverty.
“Twenty-four-million children live in families that make less than $17,000 a year,” he said. On the SouthCoast, there are 80,000 children living in poverty, and 1 in 10 are homeless.”
Through Gifts to Give, Stevens gives these children a chance at survival.
How Gifts to Give Works
Gifts to Give is completely run by volunteers.
“We have never had a payroll,” said Stevens. It’s run by volunteers six days who sort through roughly 20,000 donations weekly dropped off at their back door.
That might sound like a lot, but unfortunately, not all of it is usable.
“Some of it is gold,” said Stevens, but some goes straight to the landfill. While Gifts to Give collects clothes, toys and books for people between the ages of newborn and 18, the adult clothes and small home goods are featured in their thrift store on Saturday, where 100% of the profits are used for operating expenses.
They even have an online shopping cart called the “gift engine.”
“It’s accessed by 200 agencies and about 900 individuals like social workers and school nurses who can go online and request items,” said Stevens. Last year, Gifts to Give had 12,000 volunteers and delivered 8,000 gift packages to children in need.
How to Help
With summertime in full swing, the organization hopes to stock its shelves and online cart with the following items:
Girls Summer Needs
Sizes 2T, 3T, 4T, 10, 12, 14,
Size 8 shorts
12-18 month pajamas
Boys Summer Needs
Size 2T, 3T, 8, 12, 16, and 18
12-18 month pajamas
Stevens wanted to create a difference in the world and leave behind a legacy that encourages community and kindness. Thanks to his vision and the hardworking volunteers who keep the vision alive, Gifts to Give continues to create change on the SouthCoast.