Thanks to Development Associate Liz Zavodsky for today’s blog.

Here in Portland, we have what seems to be an endless option of consignment stores and access to perfectly good, gently used, clothing, furniture, houseware goods, bikes, shoes, and baby items. For the months of July though December, NWEI has partnered with one of these clothing stores — the Buffalo Exchange on 1036 W Burnside in Portland. For the next six months, every time someone shops at this Buffalo Exchange location and either brings their own bag or does not use one at all, they will be given a wooden nickel to place in a box of their nonprofit of choice. NWEI is one of these organizations and will get a nickel for each wooden nickel placed in our box.

Kerry, our Development Director, uses her NWEI  bag when shopping.

For those of you in the Portland area, it’s easy to participate. If you feel the need to do some summer cleaning, you can take your men’s or women’s clothing (in good condition, of course!) into Buffalo Exchange and shop while you wait for them to go through your items. You can take store credit or cash for the clothes, shoes, belts, and bags you bring in, and if they do not take all that you have, you can leave it with them to donate or take it home with you to donate yourself. If you are itching for something new and fun for a decent price, this is a great way to treat yourself. If it’s back to school time, Buffalo Exchange can be a good place to start for school shopping. Just remember, take your own bag, and please place your wooden nickel in the NWEI donation box.

If you are not in Portland but still want to support NWEI, there are many ways to do so: become a member, give a gift membership, organize a discussion course, like us on Facebook, become a monthly donor, and participate in our EcoChallenge happening this October. If you like the concept of consignment stores and all they have to offer, explore what options you have in your own city. Are there consignment options for furniture, clothing, books, or shoes? If you have not been to your local consignment store, consider making a visit. Find out how they support local programs and organizations in your area. These community-oriented businesses usually embrace the opportunity to support others, so if they do not have a wooden nickel system or something else set up, talk with them about the possibility.

Reusing your bags can be better for the planet, and can help your community, too!