Where to donate unwanted items and how it helps the community

TR PHOTO BY LOGAN METZGER A Goodwill employee sorts books and other donated items while also checking the quality of items before they go out onto the floor to be sold. Due to Goodwill being a non-profit, the money gained from store sales goes to providing individuals in need with career help.

Whether it is time to clean out the house of unused items or time to move and not all the old things will fit, Marshalltown has places to donate unwanted items.


A large and well known organization that takes unwanted items is Goodwill. Goodwill is a nationwide non-profit that uses the money from their store sales to fund job training and help individuals find jobs.

Alison Cate, director of marketing, said Goodwill take almost anything, even some items in broken condition. Goodwill is always looking for more clothing and computer items. The Goodwill in Marshalltown accepts broken computers because they have a partnership with Dell and help recycle e-waste and they even accept stained clothing which they sell by the pound at larger stores across the state to individuals who use them to make rags or have other uses for them.

Items are on a four-week cycle and if they do not sell within that timeframe they are sent to either Des Moines or Johnston where items are sold by the pound. Then if they don’t sell there they are sent to Africa for their free-trade market.

Items that Goodwill will not accept include baby items like cribs and car seats, paint, cleaning supplies, exercise equipment, broken or damaged furniture, and appliances like refrigerators or air conditioners.

To donate items go to the Marshalltown Goodwill located at 100 Lafrenz Drive. To donate monetarily or to become a volunteer go to www.dmgoodwill.org.

Salvation Army

Another large organization that accepts unwanted items is The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is evangelical group that helps individuals in a variety of circumstances including providing housing to those in poverty and helping with disaster relief.

“The money we receive goes into the kids programs we have throughout the school year, which is completely free,” said Pam Kasten, captain and corps officer. “We also have women’s groups and we help with rent and utility assistance and we have a food pantry.”

Families in need can receive vouchers, which allows families to pick out items in the store that total a certain amount of money. To apply for the voucher system a family simply has to provide identification for every individual in the home, including children, and then a piece of mail from the last 30 days.

Kasten said that the Salvation Army will take anything that a person could think of, but the items they are in need of include housewares, furniture, and jewelry.

Items are on a five-week cycle and if they do not sell within that timeframe they are sent to Des Moines and sold by the pound.

Items that The Salvation Army will not take include heavily damaged items, baby items like cribs and car seats, and medical equipment.

To donate items go to the Marshalltown Salvation Army located at 107 W. State St. during store hours. Items left outside will not be accepted, Kasten said. To donate money or to become a volunteer go to https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/.

Transitional Living Center

One of the not as well known places that residents of Marshalltown can donate to is the Transitional Living Center (TLC). The TLC helps individuals with mental health issues find a home and assimilate into the community at large. TLC opened one year ago and helps individuals by providing them housing for 90 days before moving them into an apartment, which is where the need for donations comes in.

“It is important that we get donations so that when the people we help leave our program they have things already in their apartment and do not have to worry and over stress right away about finding toiletries and kitchen supplies,” said Anna Hargrave, program director.

Hargrave said that TLC will take pretty much anything if it is in good condition, but items they need the most include clothing, kitchen items such as utensils and flatware, small appliances like microwaves and toasters, small furniture like end tables and lamps, and the biggest group of items they are in need of are toiletries such as toothbrushes, towels and toilet paper.

TLC does not need beds, due to an agreement with McGregors, but will still accept them as long as they are clean.

To get in contact with TLC to donate items, call Anna Hargrave at 641-485-6548 or call Center Associates at 641-752-1585 and ask for Bev Worden.

American Legion

Another less well known place to donate is to contact Paul Heckman. Heckman has been working with the American Legion collecting donations for over 40 years and still continues to do it.

“I check them out when I get them and then they go out right away,” Heckman said. “People need these items because Medicaid doesn’t always cover it. I don’t charge for anything besides the porta potties.”

Heckman accepts anything from porta potties to hospital beds and is always looking for more shower chairs.

Items Heckman will not accept include any oxygen related supplies, which he turns over to the hospital if he does receive it.

To get in contact with Heckman call 641-750-0479.


Contact Logan Metzger at 641-753-6611 or lmetzger@timesrepublican.com

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the chain of locations Goodwill items may end up.


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