Move Out, Help Out

Move Out, Help Out

Robert from Our Thrift Store at Branscomb during Move Out last year.

As students pack for the summer, many will discover things they don-€™t want, need, or simply can-€™t take with them. Each spring OHARE partners with local organizations giving students an opportunity to donate reusable, unwanted items.

The benefits for Vanderbilt include reducing waste and abandoned items. Students will be glad to know that not only is waste reduced, but diverse individuals across Middle Tennessee benefit from their donations.

One such organization is Franklin based Our Thrift Store. “The tagline at Our Thrift Store is ‘stuff equals jobs,’ a short way of saying that the income we receive from the sale of donated products directly correlates with our ability to train and hire special needs individuals in our community,-€ comments Dave Krikac, Founder and President of The Gear Foundation which operates the business. -€œThere is no way to measure the impact that Vanderbilt’s incredible generosity through year-end collections has had on the growth of the store and, in turn, the lives of our employees, and we are so grateful to all who make the collections possible.”

Similarly ARC Davidson County advocates for rights and participation of kids and adults in Nashville with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They sell through Southern Thrift Stores to fund their services which include employment and family support.

Ann Nielson, Director for Housing Facilities Management, describes the commitment to collect during move-out as a huge undertaking. Organizations agree to daily, sometimes twice a day, pickup. Volunteers and trucks are essential to manage the operation.

Collecting groups have differing missions and vary in how donations are used. -€œParticipating in the year-end collections has been an awesome benefit to Operation Stand Down Nashville-€™s Transitional Housing Program and our Thrift Store,-€ states Mary D. Ross, US Army, Retired and Deputy Executive Director of Operation Stand Down Nashville, Inc. -€œWe have not had to purchase linens for our transitional homes in almost two years, not to mention being able to replace coffee pots, toaster ovens and other household items.   The savings on linen alone is worth it. What is not used in the homes is sold through our Thrift Store and that profit goes directly to the support of the organization-€™s mission.-€

Vanderbilt also partners with AMVETS National Service Foundation who locally operates Music City Thrift stores as a source of revenue for veterans programs. Melanie Butler states, -€œAMVETS National Service Foundation provides support to veterans through service programs as well as providing community and youth-oriented programs designed to promote unity and patriotism. It counsels and represents veterans and their dependents before the Veterans Administration without charge.-€

On average first year halls generate approximately nine pick-up truck loads during the collection period, while upper class halls produce 15-20 loads. A collecting organization needs sufficient space to sort and store donated items.

Nationally known Goodwill Industries helps people with employment barriers learn skills to find competitive employment. Natisha Moultry, Community Relations Manager for Goodwill, shares, -€œIn 2013 Goodwill Career Solutions placed 5,615 people in jobs.  Nearly all of the services offered through Career Solutions are free thanks to donors like Vanderbilt.-€

OHARE matches each organization to the residence halls that best meet their needs. LP PENCIL Box is a free school supply store for Metro Nashville Public School Teachers.   They are assigned to West House where students are more likely to donate school supplies as opposed to household items. Program Manager Kimberly Washington states, -€œThe items collected will be put into our store, where teachers shop once per semester for up to $300 worth of FREE supplies. We are truly thankful for the opportunity that the Vanderbilt Dorm Drive bestows upon us.-€

Donation drive success has grown in recent years. In 2010 the number of participating organizations was four. It grew to nine in 2011, spiking at twelve in 2012. Currently nine local non-profit organizations collect donations from 23 residential donation points and one trailer.

The newest participant, American Textile Recycling, joined last year. Collecting from Blakemore, their key Tennessee sponsor is Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Dennis Buzard, Community Relations Advocate, states -€œWe greatly appreciate all college and university textile donations programs. Student and faculty clothing and shoe contributions end up in geographic regions where the products are desperately needed, and most importantly, MADD receives additional funds for every pound donated.-€

Students are asked to:

  • Clean belongings before donating them.
  • Defrost refrigerators before donating them.
  • Take broken items to designated recycling locations across campus.
  • Place garbage in dumpsters.

Once items are placed in wire collection bins they become the property of the organization collecting. Bin -€œshopping-€ is prohibited. By doing these things, students are a tremendous help to the agencies and those in need.

“The partnership between Vanderbilt’s Office of Housing and Residential Education and World Relief Nashville serves the greater Nashville community by supplementing refugee housing needs with items donated by Vanderbilt students,-€ Joel Bruerd, Resource Coordinator. -€œShelving, furniture, lighting, appliances and even decorative items all function well in our agency’s goal of meeting the immediate needs of our clients.   These donations are placed in the apartment of a new Nashville family and in this way; we each play a part in welcoming and supporting families in transition.”

Student donations reach far beyond the United States. Bruce Krapf is Operations Manager for Thriftsmart which sells donated goods in its local thrift operation, giving all profits to four local charities.  -€œItems provided by the students at year end collections ultimately help provide healthcare visits at Mercy Community Healthcare, scholarships at New Hope Academy, leadership and development in African villages, plus  social and economic development through Belize Project.   Thank you, students!-€

Collections begin Tuesday, April 22nd and continue through closing. For donation and recycling locations, visit the Housing website at: