It’s the holiday season, and what better time to celebrate the spirit the season of giving. I’ve shared before ways about Shopping & Spreading a Little Kindness and Spreading Holiday Cheer with Anime as well as The Many Ways to Deal With All Your Old Anime & Manga. This time, I’m specifically focusing on places to consider making donations to. Whether you have anime box sets you’ve never touched or manga you’ll never read again, here are some persons and places to consider making to. (Of course, monetary donations are always welcome!)
Note that some places may have restrictions on donations, like only accepting books or items in new condition. Some locations may have restrictions on visitors (especially during the current pandemic) or may turn down donations if they’re backed up, so it doesn’t hurt to contact them beforehand. I’m also concentrating on books and movies, but most of these will apply to almost any type of merchandise. You may also consider doing some research to consider options that you may not immediately think of, like stuffed animals to police and other first responders to give to kids during emergencies.
Anime Clubs & Charities
If you know of an anime club in your area, your donated materials make good material for meetings or prizes during gametime. Unlike a lot of other options, your used anime and manga will likely quickly find use and/or a new home. But those in smaller communities may not have a club nearby.
Charity Bins & Boxes
You can find these bins at various locations — big box stores, malls, etc. Each bin is affiliated with an organization — local, national, or even an online one. Some donation bins may only accept certain types of items (clothes, books, etc.) while others will accept any donations. Be aware that most bins say to not leave things outside, so if it’s full, you may need to swing by on a different day. Also note that third-parties may handle the bins on behalf of the charity, so an organization may never actually touch your donations. During the holiday season, you can also find bins requesting items for kids and teens in need, but these generally request new items be donated.
I’m combining these into one since they’re both very similar to other listings on here. Free stores are like thrift stores except that everything is free. They may take a small portion of their higher-end donations to sell or raffle to help cover their expenses, but generally, these are take-what-you-need locations. There are also places like little libraries where you can put your used media for someone else to come along and enjoy, although these generally thrive when you donate one when you take one.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, some people find themselves without a place to live and need to turn to temporary housing. Items donated to a shelter can be kept around to provide some entertainment to those staying at the shelter. Some places are only open for limited hours, so their entertainment sections (and donations of media) may be restricted in order to help visitors transition to more permanent housing.
When people find themselves in a scary situation, what’s often needed is a distraction. This is especially true for younger patients, like those in children’s hospitals. Anything that helps get their minds off their health issues is greatly appreciated.
Jails & Prisons
Incarceration is a punishment, but it’s also meant as rehabilitation. Used media may provide inmates with a distraction about their situation, but they can also inspire prisoners to find something to work toward — finding work in a shop that sells anime/manga products or learning Japanese perhaps. There will be those who find the idea of any persons in jail enjoying entertainment abhorrent, but it’s an option to consider and may help reduce recidivism.
Libraries feature an extensive collection, but even the biggest ones can’t carry every book (or movie). Help fill in the holes in their offerings to help other fans or even foster new ones. Duplicate/unwanted series may be used in their groups/activities or to help raise funds in book sales. Libraries can vary dramatically in size, so that’s something to consider when making your donation.
Yes, you could donate to your actual next-door neighbor, but I mean this in a more metaphorical sense of someone in your community. Put up a post on Facebook Marketplace or other local group to find someone who loves anime and manga. Just be wary of resellers who have no intention of enjoying your donations and intend to make a profit as well as people who flake out. I’ve seen a lot of recommendations to put a price on your listing, and when the individual shows up, make their day by giving it to them for free. This helps avoid both types of problematic people.
A lot of abused partners flee with nothing but the clothes on their backs. In addition, they often have children who are left scared and confused by this situation. Most places will try to help these families and get them restarted with basic necessities — and some fun things, like your old books and movies. Because the location of these shelters are usually kept secret, you will likely need to contact them to arrange a drop-off point, so this may be less convenient than some other options.
Sales & Auctions
While a lot of other options are available year-round, rummage sales, auctions, and the sort are generally only put on by an organization once or twice a year. Usually a couple weeks or so before the event they start putting out requests for donations. These events usually happen around the same time each year, so if you’ve been to or donated to a sale before, you know when to start looking for drop-off dates. A variety of organizations put on these types of events including humane societies, churches, and athletic clubs. But any unsold merchandise will likely get passed to a thrift shop, so your donation may not end up helping those you intended.
Your old books and movies could be useful in a multitude of ways. Perhaps they can be added to the school’s library. A classroom. Afterschool clubs. Freebies for students. Sales. You have a lot of choices, or you can leave it up to the school to best determine what to do. That may be best due to some administrations or parents may object to content in media, whether it’s a legitimate concern or not.
Chances are you won’t have to go far to find a thrift store near you. Note that there are two kinds of charity shops – profit and nonprofit. That may or may not make a difference to you, but it may be important to you along with the thrift store’s mission. You can either look up their website or use resources like Charity Navigator to learn more. Either way, your donations will likely help your community in some way, but worse case scenario, items may be passed on to another organization or, eventually, a landfill.
Organizations such as Operation Paperback allow you to send your used books to troops. Unlike other options which come at no cost to you, Operation Paperback is one where you send your books directly, so you pay shipping costs. The thought of making a soldier’s or military family’s day brighter may outweigh that for you.