I have received multiple private messages from moms signed up for Holiday Helper that have received "gently used" items that were not so gently used. Of course we are thankful for anyone sending a donation to a family, but just because they are signed up for help does not mean that sending clothing that is stained, extremely worn or the wrong gender/size is okay. We would much rather you toss those items too used to pass along and save your postage money, or better yet donate the money you would have spent on postage to the Holiday Helper fund.
If a family posts that a child has an animal allergy, sending a stuffed toy covered in pet hair is not okay.
If you are sending toys, please make sure they have all their parts/pieces, are not broken, have not been recalled and are not chewed on by a pet or small child.
For many of our families, it is a humbling enough experience just signing up for help in the first place, but to receive an item like I described above, it really makes them feel worse. I am speaking from personal experience here.
I do not want to have to resort to having helpers ship their items to an organizer so that only nice things are sent to our MINs. It would greatly increase the cost of shipping and the amount of time we would have to devote to Holiday Helper, but the alternative is having our MINs with hurt feelings, and worse because they are signed up to receive an item and they get an unusable one so it’s as though we never helped them in the first place.
So please, please, please helpers, look at what you are sending. If you wouldn’t like to receive it wrapped in paper and tied with a bow under your Christmas tree, don’t send it to a MIN.