GiveNKind recently finished the challenging and exciting process of moving locations. Previously located in Buffalo Grove, GiveNKind now calls 1700 S. Butterfield Rd, Mundelein its new home for the GiveNKind Center.
GiveNKind is a non-profit organization that receives goods from businesses and individuals — such as you and me — and connects them to other nonprofits that are in need of them. In simpler terms, they are the middle-man between donors that have excess goods and nonprofits that need them. Nonprofits make an appointment to visit the GiveNKind Center to select new and gently used items to meet the needs of their clients. Items typically available include housewares, clothing, health and beauty supplies, bedding, food, baby equipment, toys and more.
Through this move, GiveNKind is able to serve more partner nonprofits throughout Chicagoland. Additionally, the new 3,000 square foot space is double that of their previous location, has more parking for nonprofits and volunteers, and can easily accept trucks of palletized goods.
I recently visited the Mundelein GiveNKind Center to learn more about the new facility. Upon entering, I saw a corner of the building with multiple twenty-foot-high shelves filled with huge boxes of donated goods — this was the hub where all of the action was taking place.
As Emily, the bright and charismatic founder and executive director of GiveNKind, led me between these boxes, I noticed groups of volunteers talking amongst each other while packing and moving cardboard boxes, each box filled with donations. I was able to meet and talk with some of these volunteers, including a seventh grader assisting with packing puzzles and a mother and her daughter sorting bedsheets.
I asked a few of these volunteers about their experience as either first-time or long-time helpers at GiveNKind.
Ryan, a long-time volunteer at GiveNKind, was first introduced to the organization through his mom a year ago. Since then, he has helped out weekly to move heavy boxes. Not everyone’s experience at GiveNKind looks the same, however. Others spend their time sorting donations, packing cardboard boxes, and distributing materials.
As college-student Sidney added, “It’s a little different every time. If you want variety, this is a good place to come.”
Sidney was introduced to GiveNKind through her younger sister, Hailee, a rising high school senior who’s been volunteering with GiveNKind since the beginning of her junior year. She chose GiveNKind because of how simple it was to get involved. “They’re super easy to sign up with, which is why I kept volunteering because I’m not good with technology,” she explained.
During the summer, Hailee comes in weekly to help out and usually brings a friend along. Even without the company of a familiar face, however, Hailee stressed, “Everyone’s super nice to work with. Emily — who’s always here — she’s so much fun. She’s such a nice person.”
All of the volunteers I interviewed shared the same view as Hailee when it came to the kindness that they were met with by fellow volunteers:
“It’s a really nice place. You get to meet new people. It’s really fun sometimes too.” – Ronit
“Everyone’s friendly. It seems like there’s a lot to do, so it feels like we can be helpful. It seems fun.” – Debbie
“It’s a really positive environment. Everyone is usually very friendly.” – Ryan
Many of the volunteers became more aware of the need for donations through working with GiveNKind.
“No matter what you feel like is going to waste, there’s always a place for it to go,” Ryan pointed out. “Many people are guilty of throwing out perfectly-working items due to the belief that there’s either no use for them or because they don’t know where to give them away. Without proper guidance, we could potentially be robbing people of items that could greatly benefit their lives.”
Sidney mentioned this as well: “It’s weird to think there’s an entire warehouse of stuff that would’ve been thrown out otherwise. It’s nice to know it’s going somewhere.”
Debbie, a long-time donor to other organizations, admitted that after volunteering with GiveNKind for the first time, she was inspired to start donating to GiveNKind instead. “I donate a lot from my house, but now I feel like I want to bring it here instead of having a truck come from somewhere else. […] From here, it feels like very specific needs are met.”
GiveNKind currently serves over 225 Illinois-based nonprofits. If you are a business or individual with excess goods, consider directing your donations to GiveNKind.
Volunteer opportunities, both in person and online, are available here for those interested in getting more involved. Just an hour of your week to help at the GiveNKind Center can reap bigger rewards for your community and yourself.
As Debbie, a first-time volunteer, said, “It just seems like there’s a lot to be done. There’s a big need and it feels good to help people.”