Donating Items To Goodwill or Salvation Army

Over the past several weeks, my sister and I have been putting items in bags and boxes that we wanted to donate to charity. We normally donate items of that type to the Goodwill facility in Culpeper, and the friendly (and helpful) employees give us a receipt for the items, which we can use as proof of donation at tax-time, should we need proof. They also give us a coupon for a percentage off of the items in their store. The drawback (in my mind) to donating the items to Goodwill, is all of the bad press that Goodwill has gotten for how their executive makes a huge amount of money, while the employees are paid very little money. In contrast, the Salvation Army has a better reputation. So, this time we decided to donate my items to the Salvation Army, which has a location in Warrenton. We go to Warrenton more often than Culpeper, so we thought that donating items to the Salvation Army would work out just fine.

The process started out as a challenge. Although we already knew how to get to the Salvation Army location, we thought I’d use my smartphone’s Google Maps app to guide us there. I was thinking that maybe Google Maps would have a creative way to get us there faster, or with shorter distance involved. With my sister driving, we were following the Google Maps directions, zigzagging through town (instead of a direct route that we normally would have taken) up until it told us to turn the wrong way down a one-way street. At the time that it told us to turn, we immediately realized that Google Maps was taking us the wrong way, and we didn’t turn. But, that was rather a scary thought that we might have blindly turned down that road if we didn’t already have a good idea of the roads in town!

So, we ignored the Google Maps directions at that point, and continued on the way we already knew how to get there. Upon arrival at the Salvation Army’s location where they accept donations, we saw a very small loading dock, with the words “employees only” painted on the edge of the dock. On the walls beside the loading dock we saw a lot of “No Dumping” signs. There were several items on the ground beside the walls, and in front of the loading dock, and some items on the loading dock. We could see some employees inside the facility, but they did not seem to realize we were there. We could not see any kind of buzzer, or bell to activate to get their attention, but we decided to start unloading the car.

I put a few items on top of the loading dock, and my sister put a few boxes on the ground in front of the loading dock. Before we were finished unloading the car, a lady came out of the facility and before we could even say “Good Morning,” she started to scold us for putting items on the ground. She told us that there was “No Dumping” allowed. We told her that we were not “Dumping,” we were “Donating.” Continuing her scolding, she pointed to the “No Dumping” signs on the side of the walls, and told us that any item not placed on the loading dock itself was considered “Dumping” and that the employees were not allowed to touch anything that was not left on the loading platform. She said anything left beside the walls would simply be hauled away to the dump!

We said “oh, we had no idea, but the loading dock was full and there is no room for the items we wish to donate, so we were leaving the items on the ground in front of the loading dock.” At that point, a couple of more employees walked up behind us and started to move items off of the loading dock, making room for our items. My sister picked the boxes off of the ground and put them on the loading dock. My sister encouraged the employees to take care with putting their hands in one of the boxes, as there were some sharp kitchen knives in the box, and she did not want them to cut themselves. These employees simply said “OK” and started to remove our items from the platform.

None of the employees (volunteers?) at any point, smiled, or said “hello” or “good morning” or “thank you” or offered a receipt. They were all quite abrupt. This was very off-putting. About four hours later, we found ourselves driving past the facility again, and say a huge amount of black trash bags and items of furniture lined up against the wall, under the “No Dumping” signs. We wondered if the people that left those bags and items there realized that the Salvation Army would not even touch any of those items. How many people have been taking their items to the Salvation Army, thinking that they are doing a good deed, leaving them beside the tiny loading dock platform, expecting the Salvation Army will put those donations to good use?

Next time we decide to donate items, I think it will be somewhere else. I’d at least like to see a smiling face when I am donating items!

Have you lost a black cat recently?

Over the past several years, there has been a longish haired black cat roaming the Shadow Springs Ct/Jeffersonton Rd neighborhood. Nobody seems to know who owns it, but some of the neighbors have been feeding it, as it comes onto their porch and begs them for food. The cat is very friendly. There is a good chance that the owners of this lovely cat moved away – there has been a very high turnover of real estate in the area in the past few years.

Last night, after dark, I was returning home from visiting friends. I was entering the house through the garage door, and I saw the cat in the shadows nearby. At first I thought it was one of my cats (I own black cats) and I called out to it to come inside to eat dinner. The cat approached me, and as it got nearer, I realized that it was not my cat at all, and it was limping badly. Recognizing the cat as the friendly cat that my neighbors feed, I let it into the garage, and shut the door.

I called the neighbors that I knew fed the cat, and advised them that I had their cat, and it was injured. I told them that the cat needed to be taken to a vet for treatment. They said that they did not own the cat and that they would not take it to a vet. They said that they had not seen the cat for more than three days and they had assumed that I had taken it in. (Why, I don’t know….)

Not being able to afford to take every stray, injured animal that I see to the vet (the last one was last spring, and it cost thousands of dollars – and died anyway!) I told them that I couldn’t afford to take it to the vet myself. Again, they said that they would not take the cat to a vet and wished me luck.

I called the non-emergency number to the county Sheriff’s department and asked them to have animal control come get the cat and take it to a vet, and to the shelter. Animal control office had closed for the day, and they took down my name and number and said that someone would call me back.

Waiting for the return call, I went out to the garage and fed the cat. The cat was so hungry – it ate more food than I’ve ever seen a cat eat! The cat also drank all the water in the water bowl.

I fixed up a litter box and a bed for the cat, and filled the bowls with food and water again, and warned everyone in the house to stay out of the garage until animal control could come get the cat.

Animal control came out this morning to pick up the cat. The food and water bowls were completely empty again. The cat was so glad to see us! Came limping up to us as quick as it could get to us, and was rubbing up against our legs, wanting to be loved.

The lady from animal control told me that she was going to take the cat straight to the vet. She said that they would do everything they could to fix the cat up and then take the cat to the animal shelter. She agreed with me that this cat had, at one point, been somebody’s pet. When we picked the cat up, we realized that the cat was injured in more than one place, and the lady from animal control said that she thought that maybe the cat had been “hit.” The left front foot had an infected spot near a claw, and the cat was not using it’s rear left leg at all. She promised to keep me informed as to what they do for the cat. I hope they do, and I hope that the county decides to have the vet fix it instead of putting it down (due to expense.) I hope that someone adopts the cat and gives it a wonderful, loving home.

I am saddened that someone would have abandoned this cat, leaving it to fend for itself in the countryside.

Translation Services Are Growing In Importance

I can remember in High School, I decided to take Spanish as my foreign language. Back then, we could only choose between French and Spanish. My high school counselor advised me to take Spanish, saying that the experts projected that more people from Hispanic countries were going to be settling into the area, and that I would actually find myself using Spanish in real life on a daily basis, whereas chances of me using French on a daily basis were less likely.

I can remember for a time, after graduating High School, working at Levitz Furniture in Merrifield (yes, the one that got hit by a tornado on April 1, 1973.) I was one of the “Front Office Girls” and one of our duties was to call customers when their special order had arrived, and arrange for the customer to either come and pick up their order, or to arrange for a delivery date. There were quite a few times that some of my co-workers were making those phone calls while I was waiting on customers at the counter, and they would end up asking me to come provide my translation services to the customer that they had on the telephone.

I was quite pleased to be able to remember enough of my High School Spanish to be able to talk with those customers to let them know that their order had arrived. Unfortunately, my Spanish language skills got very rusty when I lived in New England for twenty-nine years! I regret not keeping up with the language. I’ve tried several times to find some affordable courses in the area that would help me to refresh my skills. There have been many times since we moved back here from New England that I wished I could speak Spanish more fluently! I think that the demand for translation services in this area are going to continue to grow!

The Man And His Horse Standing Vigil

Forrest and Zeke 9-11-15 on Lee Hwy
Forrest and Zeke 9-11-15 on Lee Hwy

Yesterday, on my way into Warrenton to go to the laundromat (yes, my washing machine is broken, thanks Obama!) I was pleasantly surprised to see Forrest Whorton and his horse Zeke standing vigil in recognition of the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, in the median strip on Lee Highway. I was so lucky to be able to stop for a couple of minutes and take some pictures of him. I have seen him in the past, standing vigil, during other patriotic occassions, but never had the chance to stop and take photos.

This time, I not only managed to stop and take photos, I had the opportunity to talk with him, shake his hand, and thank him for what he was doing, and has done. I introduced myself, and asked him for his name. He told me his name, and his horse’s name. I patted Zeke for a couple of minutes, and a very nice lady that happened by offered to take some photos of us together, which was very nice. I won’t share any of those photos here, but I am sharing one of the photos that I took.

5 Must Have Items for Homeschooling

5 Must Have Items for Homeschooling

Homeschooling has become much more popular for families all over the world. Parents and kids alike like to have the option to completely control their own day and create a plan that will help children reach their highest potential. Additionally, there are so many more resources available to help families with every homeschooling need and want. Parents can take advantage of these resources to create the best homeschooling environment for their kids. But what resources do children actually need for homeschooling?

There are a lot of homeschooling options available for parents to choose from. Parents need to make sure that they choose the path that not only fits best with their children’s needs and goals, but also coincides with the parent’s values and ideas for their children. For these reasons, the details of what each family with need for homeschooling with differ slightly. That being said, there are a few tools that every family will need in order to succeed when homeschooling. Here are five must have items for homeschooling.

Plastic tubs for organization

Homeschooling parents will quickly realize that there are a lot of supplies needed to home school their children. From pencils to duct tape, there are a lot of little things that can get lost or misplaced in the house that children will need for homeschooling. Parents should invest in some plastic tubs to store these things and keep everything organized.

A reliable internet connection

Using the internet has become a regular part of every home-schooled child’s day. There are so many resources and tools on the internet that parents can use to ensure their kids are getting the best education all year long. Parents can use frontier communications in Oregon to ensure that their kids will have a fast, safe and reliable internet connection throughout the school day.

A digital bookmark timer

Staying focused and on task at home can be difficult for some children to do when being homeschooled. There are some great tools parents can use to keep their children focused and productive throughout the day. One of these tools is a digital bookmark timer that can allow parents to track their children progress in a book and give them goals to work towards.

A globe

Every child will need to do some work learning geography and other things about the world around them. Parents can help their children get a better view with a classic tool. A globe is still one of the best ways to help kids understand the world around them. Globes are also a great addition to have in the home for parents as well, getting everyone excited about experiencing more of the planet.

Educational games

Every child will need a brain break every once in a while. Parents can help keep their kids learning while still giving them a small break from the normal homeschool routine. educational games are a great way for families to have fun learning together and to help kids see how much fun learning can be.

This has been a guest post.