Local Charities Benefit from FSU Collection Drive

FSU Chuck It
Posted at 3:00 PM, May 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-11 11:23:25-04
TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- The piles of clothes, bedding and food at 1238 Crate Street are a gold mine. For local charities, it's not trash. It's treasure.
"We've got lamps, mirrors, shelving units, ironing boards," said Kristi Johnson, who works with Brehon Family Services in Leon and Gadsden counties. "You name it."
It's all part of Florida State University's "Chuck It for Charity" drive, which wrapped up when students moved out of their housing. They dropped off things they didn't want in bins around campus.
FSU's Sustainability Department has been collecting items for seven years.
"For us, this is one of our programs that really highlight what sustainability really means in its full context," said Elizabeth Swiman, FSU's director of sustainability. "It's a waste reduction strategy for the university, but it also helps a lot of people."
People like Johnson, whose charity is one of 25 that scooped up these things.
"We help homeless pregnant women at our organization, so these items actually help the ladies when they get ready to move out into their own places," she said.
Christ Town Ministries in Quincy brought a truck to load items they'll need.
"We have a thrift store, and they'll be sold. All the profits go to helping restore lives -- from drug addicts to homeless people," said Kevin Shulla. "It's a game changer.
The warehouse started with 15 tons of items, everything from food to furniture.
"It seems like it's benefiting people far beyond the landfill," said FSU Campus Sustainability associate Kristen Lee. "We're not creating greenhouse gases. We are giving these items back in a way that can be used to our community."
This year's fifteen tons shattered the record for the biggest collection, but the Sustainability Department isn't trying to pile on in the future.
"My hope is that students realize their items are reusable next year - that paper is still paper. You still need it for class," Swiman said. "Lamps are still lamps. Toasters still toast bread."
But no matter what, the group knows it's all about finding the value of things and knowing they can be useful again.