“Hi there! I have some donations for you!”

These few words may to the untrained ear sound just like a sentence, any sentence. Nothing special. Maybe even a bit boring? Well, I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth!

Every bag is an adventure in itself, every box full of mysteries. Sometimes they make you go “wow!” and other times they just make you go “wow……”. You become a master of all – you know your kitsch from your crap, your old from your antique. Some things are collectibles, some things, to be completely honest, should never even been made. Most of the time you are grateful, but sometimes you wonder why on earth anyone ever thought that a charity shop would like that donated in the first place.

Like the time two, what seemed lovely, girls brought us three big bin bags. They quickly disappeared out of the door after dropping them in front of the till.
Feels like clothes,” I said to the volunteer helping us that day and brought it through to the back to get it sorted. And it was clothes. Mixed with used condoms….. Why thank you ladies. That made us feel so special…
(Now I know that this helped me prepare for the covid-19 crisis – I know how to wash my hands well…)

Or the Barbie doll you see a picture of here. Art project gone wrong? Or right maybe? I don’t know what to do with it but I am open to offers 😀 Maybe you need it for your collection, or know someone who does? Or do you just want to save me… It is currently sitting in my office on the “WTF shelf” (yes, we have one of those and no you can have a photo – it is offensive. Believe me.)

Other times the donation sends you down a research route that would make Sherlock Holmes green of envy. Like that time a painting was donated and we found the artist after weeks of looking. It turned out that it was the first-ever painting she made in uni. It was a selection of still-lives from her first boyfriend's flat. 30 years after it was made, we reunited her with the painting and she made a lovely donation to the sanctuary as a thank you.

My all-time favorite heart-warming story was this one.
The picture of four smiling young men in uniform.
No names, no clues. Mixed in with the Terracycle recycling of all things, and we just assumed it came to us by mistake!
It would have been so easy to just put it out for sale, but there was something about it…. It felt like it would mean something to someone! After posting about it on a Facebook site someone quickly told me it was a Norfolk regiment. Well, that narrows it down! Again, we took to the internet – we made a post on our Facebook page and 146 shares and 28 hours later I received a message. It honestly gives me goosebumps just to think about it!

“Someone has recognised their dad in the photo so they should be contacting you soon”. Two hours later it was in the post going to Cynthia in North Walsham. A happy ending for sure 😊

Sometimes it’s not about making money – sometimes making someone smile is just priceless.



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