This is the time of year we think about giving gifts, and also the time many of us clean out our homes and get rid of old possessions.
Some of our stuff might seem useless, of no value to anyone, but not only are there people who can use them, there are also organisations, many of them run by volunteers, which collect them and distribute them.
Some things, such as clothes, should still be in reasonably good condition.
Uplift Bras collects old bras and passes them on to women in poorer countries, such as Fiji. You can find a collection point near you at www.upliftbras.org.
If you have grown out of your shoes, or changed your style ideas, Shoes for Planet Earth will accept men's, women's and children's shoes and distribute them throughout 18 countries over 3 continents. Some go to homeless people in Australia. Contact www.shoesforplanetearth.com to find one of their collection points in Victoria.
Many stores collect jackets for XTM, who give them to homeless people. A list of stores can be found at www.xtm.com.au/heat-the-homeless.
Cosmetics, shampoos and hygiene products are collected by Share the Dignity and given to homeless women. Their campaign, “It's in the Bag”, only runs a short time, until 2 December. Visit their site at www.sharethedignity.com.au/christmas-charity.
So many homes have old bicycles sitting around, unused. Bicycles for Humanity send shipping containers filled with bikes to other countries, then convert the container into a bike workshop, providing skills, training and business opportunities. You can find out more at www.bicyclesforhumanity.com/melbourne.
Many organisations recycle old mobile phones. Zoos Victoria runs a campaign called “They're calling on you”, which resells phones to raise funds for primate conservation. Details are at www.zoo.org.au/get-involved.
Women's work clothes
Fitted for Work, at fittedforwork.org, help women who are looking for work by supplying a complete outfit for job interviews. They accept new or good quality used clothing, shoes, bags and accessories.
ComputerBank in West Melbourne can refurbish your old computer and provide it at a low cost to concession card holders, not-for-profit organisations or asylum seekers.
West Welcome Wagon supports asylum seekers by providing essential household items. This service is only available in some of the Western suburbs of Melbourne, but anyone can donate.