Make charitable donations before year's end

Goodwill is encouraging Americans to commit to donating 10 items before the end of 2012. During this busy time of year, many people are looking for ways to help those in need, and donating used goods is perhaps the easiest, most affordable and one of the most efficient ways to help.

“In a season when many of us are focused on gift buying, many Americans are also just as interested in giving back,” said Shannon Halverson of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois.

Items donated before Dec. 31 can be written off as charitable contributions when tax time comes in 2013. The local Goodwill store is at 1037 S. Annie Glidden Road in DeKalb, next to Schnucks.

Goodwill’s top 10 goods that can be donated:

• Computers: At the end of their useful life computers can be donated to Goodwill free and recycled via Goodwill’s Dell Reconnect partnership. Donors should delete personal data before donating.

• Kitchenware: Receive something new for the kitchen during the holidays? Old, gently-used kitchenware can be donated.

• Video games: A donation of 10 video games can provide 47 minutes of on-the-job training.

• Books: Donating 15 books can provide 26 minutes of career counseling for a veteran like Richard, who struggled to find employment after being honorably discharged.

• CDs: If all of your songs are saved on hard drives and mp3 players, do you really need those CDs taking up space in the back of your closet? It may be time to donate them.

• Cell phones: Cell phones are one of the fastest-growing types of trash in America. Instead of discarding your old phone, recycle or donate it. Goodwill has partnered with Cell Phones for Soldiers and uses your old cell phones to help soldiers call home for free. Each donated phone is recycled and provides 2.5 hours of free talk time via calling cards. Donors should delete personal data.

• Household items: Lamps, frames, vases, curios, baskets and collectibles are just a few of the many items that you can donate to Goodwill.

• Bikes: Yes, Goodwill takes big-ticket items like bikes. When your children have outgrown theirs,  consider donating.

• Gift cards: Billions of dollars in holiday gift cards go unused every year. You can donate an unwanted gift card – with any unused amount on it.

• Clothes: Donating clothes funds job training programs and provides new outfits for the job seekers Goodwill serves.

At http://donate.goodwill.org, donors can calculate the impact each donation will have in terms of job training, career counseling, financial education programs and more.

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