Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper
dated Wednesday, December 23, 1998. All rights reserved.
To Give, But What, & How?
Tis the season for donations. Money is easy to give
away, but where is the best place to donate file cabinets, telephone
systems, or computers, or paper supplies, or even a truck? Here is
a list of charities and charity brokers who can help you clean out
your office and get a tax deduction.
First on the list, a new donation broker, a virtual warehouse known
as the Trenton Waste Exchange (Box 693, Trenton 08604-0693,
fax, 609-924-6632). Carol W. Royal used a grant from the Department
of Environmental Protection to found this nonprofit business,
to helping locate homes for unwanted but usable surplus. "It is
a virtual warehouse. Check off what you are interested in donating.
A nonprofit organization would pick it up — or we arrange to pick
it up," says Royal. Her goals:
furniture, and other equipment, so they can better use scarce dollars
for the needs of their clients.
out of the waste stream.
education and other human service programs.
public relations; and reduced waste removal costs.
says Royal, "and there is a minimal handling fee based on the
value of materials donated. In some cases, where exchange is not
the fee covers the dismantling and/or sorting of reusable
"The response from the nonprofit community has been overwhelming.
They need everything," says Royal.
She lists 90 items that you wouldn’t think could be recycled: Adding
machines, air conditioning units, and art supplies. Bicycles, battery
chargers, and brushes. Calculators, clocks, and computers. Envelopes
and forklifts, hand trucks and hardware. Kitchen equipment. Ladders
and lumber. Microwave oven and musical instruments. Paint, paneling,
pens, and slide projectors. Shelving, sound equipment, and staple
supplies. Tables and toys. Vehicles, vending machines, and video
Success in this business boils down to old-fashioned networking,
out there and selling yourself," says Royal. "People feel
good about doing that. I happened to be in Morris Maple (the paint
store on Nassau Street) and asked if they ever had extra paint. They
had more than four cases, outdated, or the colors not exactly right.
I’m picking it up tomorrow and taking it down to Trenton, to Habitat
for Humanity, the YWCA, a church, and a boy’s club."
Another exchange resulted from Royal reading in U.S. 1 about how,
when Sypek & Sandford moved to a larger office, they bought new file
cabinets. "All of their old office furniture went to HomeFront.
It was fabulous for both parties," says Royal.
American Reinsurance found many cartons full of brand-new three-ring
binders, leftover from when a department moved. "I can’t tell
you how many nonprofits need 3-ring binders," says Royal. "A
daycare center asked for 50. A mental health organization wants all
"Merrill Lynch, PSE&G, and McGraw Hill want to work with us,"
says Royal, ticking off her various liaison opportunities. "PSE&G
wants to give us computers, and so does American Cyanamid. When I
can talk to somebody, the response is excellent. The key is getting
to the right person. And I’m not very patient."
Carol Royal is divorced and has four children, and after they were
launched (they include a journalist, a potter/architect, a hospital
administrator, and a sales executive), she completed her college
at the American University in Paris. She did four years work in two
years to save money, and came home with a different attitude. "I’m
a humanist — that’s what Europe did for me," says Royal.
changed my philosophy of what we can do for each other."
Along with Wendy Benchley and others, she helped organize Mercer
for Public Accountability to defeat the county incinerator plan. After
receiving the EPA grant she opened for business in the fall of 1998.
"Material exchanges typically are run through the state,"
says Royal. "The grant should last for two years. It would be
nice if the state would pick this up."
"What I’m doing now is adult education," says Royal. "You
learn the value of experiential learning, to use what they have and
to give them a voice. I am talking with people about what they can
do with excess materials and how that would help the environment.
Too many people don’t worry about the environment."
"They can see how it benefits their organization. how corporations
don’t have to throw anything away. It’s the old adage, somebody’s
trash is somebody else’s treasure," says Royal. "It’s a
Most people don’t care about the environment, but more and more are
Another way to clean out your office is to actually
sell your excess equipment or pay to have it donated. Like Carol
Bill Mischlich is in the recycling business. His Robbinsville-based
firm, Recycled Office Equipment Company (609-208-0559; fax,
is for-profit, but Mischlich donates a percentage of what he gets
"I make offers and appraise equipment to recycle it," says
Mischlich. "We can tell small companies what the price is or go
in and make an offer. We upgrade and test everything before we sell
it, or we take it back if it malfunctions."
Mischlich started out in the give-away business as a volunteer with
Telephone Pioneers. He was a tech specialist for AT&T. "After
10 years I became well acquainted with the prices of scrap or older
equipment. Show me a pallet, and I make an offer on it," he says.
"If a small company is upgrading its phone system, I’ll buy the
old one. I just bought 71 pallets of equipment."
"We donate a percentage of what we buy to charities, and we try
not to let any equipment end up on a landfill," says Mischlich.
He stores the equipment in Bordentown and hires workers on a half-day
basis to load the trucks. Some of the technical fixers get paid in
equipment. He also barters equipment and has traded for, for instance,
a couple of canoes, an air compressor, and a generator.
When he retired from AT&T he had 15 years experience as an appraiser,
and he started an appraisal business, Alton Appraisers, but found
it was not profitable. Now his services include purchasing,
and recycling surplus or outdated equipment, including erasing all
of your company’s data and software from your computers, reformatting
the drives, reloading basic software, and correcting computer
He offers appraisal and CPA services to help verify the tax credit.
He can help identify a nonprofit or charitable recipient and take
care of the moving chores. In addition to computers and monitors he
handles fax machines, printers, telephone equipment, desks, copy
shredding machines, file cabinets, chairs, and related equipment.
Mischlich works only with businesses, not individuals, and he won’t
take 386s, even to give away to schools, saying that 386s "are
junk. They are slow. If they needed maintenance they would not be
feasible to maintain or work on."
He also does not take other kinds of junk. "I get calls to donate
copiers to charity, machines that do not work and are 15 years old.
That is the expired life span of a copy machine, and we won’t take
it. Every piece of equipment we donate is above standard."
Some recipients are grateful and some are not. "A college debating
team requested donation of a dozen multimedia laptops. We don’t handle
new equipment, only surplus equipment and surplus is not Pentium2
300s." In contrast was the minister, to whom he delivered two
computers instead of the requested one. (His policy is never to donate
just one computer to a church that has yet to get its first one, with
the reasoning that the pastor needs one and the office staff needs
one.) The response from the minister was gratifying: "We prayed
for one and got two."
— Barbara Fox
Two national organizations are set up to accept your
company’s gifts of new overstocks or used but good equipment:
(NAEIR), Cruz A. Ramos, vice president corporate relations, Box 8076,
560 McClure Street, Galesburg IL 61401 or call 800-562-0955 or
donor fax, 309-343-0862. http://www.freegoods.com
and CEO, 333 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314,
NAEIR receives primarily industrial and manufacturing donations. Both
accept donations of new merchandise (often production overruns,
orders, and discontinued models or styles). Both print descriptions
of the items in catalogs, take requests from paid members (non-profit
organizations that qualify as 501(c)3 organizations), and provide
the donor with a federal tax deduction document. Donors usually pay
shipping costs to the warehouse and recipients pay shipping and
from the central warehouse.
Often you can take a tax deduction — up to twice the cost of the
item. The Taxpayer Relief Act, effective through January 1, 2000,
allows C Corporations donating to a gift broker to deduct the cost
of the donated product plus half the difference between cost and fair
market value, up to 200 percent of the merchandise cost.
Many of these Princeton-area agencies will take your
used office furniture plus anything else. A few of them offer pick-up
services. Also consider donating to consignment and resale shops for
your favorite cause.
08542. Margery Claghorn, co-chairman. 609-921-7479. E-mail:
Bring books to the collection center at 32 Vandeventer Avenue (not
to the store), 609-896-0515. Open Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m.
to noon. The spring book sale benefits scholarship funds. Do not bring
incomplete encyclopedias, textbooks, magazines, Reader’s Digest
Books, or records.
Street, Nassau Presbyterian Church, Princeton 08540. Sally Osmer,
director of crisis ministry. 609-921-2135; fax, 609-683-1975.
The Princeton office is open to take food donations from 1:30 to 4
Bob Dugas, president. 609-291-0099.
This agency provides assistance and training for those with mental
or physical disabilities. It is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Bring household goods, clothing (not torn
or soiled), appliances (small appliances only), furniture, and books.
Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville 08648. Connie Mercer, director.
This agency helps families break the cycle of poverty by providing
aid to homeless families living in Route 1 motels and follow-up help
as well. It was formerly known as the Exchange Club of Greater
It needs vehicles, kitchen tables, wood furniture, and beds
and/or bed frames). Bring them to this office or call to arrange for
pickup within Mercer County. "They are delivered directly to very
needy people at no cost to you or the taxpayer," says Connie
the director. "Please, no more sofa beds, couches, or stuffed
chairs. Bunk beds would be a godsend. Most of all we need donations
of vehicles so our clients can get to work."
08611. Stephen Kitts, director. 609-396-1506; fax, 609-392-8363.
Founded by the Quakers in 1957, this agency offers after-school
long-term health care, home health care, food distribution, and
transportation. It is open 8:30 to 4 p.m. on weekdays. The agency
particularly appreciates staples and non-perishable food, and also
collects clothing and new toys, but no books or furniture. No pickup.
Sister Loretta Maggio, community service director. 609-392-5159.
Related to but not funded by the Roman Catholic Church, the guild
distributes food to the needy and provides emergency assistance, home
health nursing, day care center, and transitional housing for the
homeless. Open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donate staples and
food and can openers. New clothing and toys also welcome.
2329 Route 34, Manasquan 08736. 732-528-0900; fax, 732-528-0921.
The NJAMHA represents more than 125 nonprofit mental healthcare
in New Jersey. NJAMHA will help a donor select the appropriate agency,
arrange for the equipment to be picked up, have a maintenance checkup,
and be delivered. The minimum: 486s or Pentium processors.
Gay Abbott-Young, executive director. 609-695-1436.
The independent agency offers assistance for homeless, needy, and
recovering alcoholics and addicts. It is open Monday to Friday, 8
a.m. to 2 p.m. Bring household goods, clothing, appliances, furniture,
ashtrays and dishes, and such kitchen items as toasters and irons.
Call 1-800-528-8825 for pickup of larger items.
State Street, Trenton 08601. Lieutenant Charles Balcolm, commanding
The thrift store at 436 Mulberry Street (609-599-9801) is open
and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring clothing, furniture,
bric a brac, shoes, bicycles, and books. Call for pick-up of larger
items. Also, a Salvation Army collection box for clothing is located
at the New Jersey Hospital Association at the corner of Alexander
Road and Roszel Road. Bring food and send monetary donations to the
State Street office, which offers a weekly meal program for the
and less fortunate.
These organizations tow away your old car and send it
to the used car auction and give you the tax deduction. Also see the
listing above for HomeFront, which does not auction the cars
but uses them for its clients who are in transition.
chapter on Princeton Pike and the Middlesex County chapter on Route
1 North in North Brunswick is run from an office at 507 Westminster
Avenue, Box 815, Elizabeth 07207. 800-318-6661.
New York Mills NY 13417. 800-577-LUNG (5864). New Jersey chapter,
29 Emmons Drive, Suite A-1, Princeton 08540. 609-452-2112; fax,
Elaine R. Fisher, director of field support services, mid-New Jersey
region. Programs help people with asthma and other lung diseases and
prevent kids from starting to smoke. The only requirements are that
you have a certificate of title, an engine in the car, and that the
car have four inflated tires at the time of pickup.
609-888-2227. Peter Weaver, executive director. The Cars for Kids’
Sake program (800-859-6526) accepts cars, trucks, or boats, regardless
of condition http://www.bbs.org/car.html.
Street, New York 10016. 800-488-cars or 212-889-2210; fax
http://www.kidney.org. Donations improve care and treatment
of those with kidney, urologic, and hypertensive diseases — with
research, patient and community services, professional education,
and public education.
To donate a vehicle call 888-999-ARMY or 2769. Donations of vehicles
support drug and alcohol rehab programs in the northeast region,
Trenton’s. The average car sells for $275, and the Salvation Army
nets a high percentage, 70 to 75 percent, which it uses for capital
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.