Making Your Donations Count – Pt 2 The Underdogs

Right, so we’ve cleaned out our closets, purged the garage, and let go of some no longer needed treasures, but what do we do with them now? Last time we discussed The BIG 4 donation organizations: Salvation Army, Goodwill, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Habitat for Humanity. Whether it is due to ease, company size, or simply because these organizations are all people think of, these organizations receive lots of recognition…and donations. However, there are tons of small local organizations that are just as deserving of recognition and support.

As stated in part 1 of this blog, New Mexico has the 3rd highest poverty rate in the nation and there are thousands of men, women, and children that look to local organizations for necessary items, shelter, sanctuary, and counseling. As I was doing my research, I came across tons of local organizations with various services. I will provide a larger list of these organizations at the end, but for simplicity’s sake, this blog will highlight one organization from each of the following foundational services: homeless support, addiction facilities, domestic violence sanctuary, veteran organizations, aid for school children, and animal welfare. 


Pt. 2: Local Organizations Making a Big Impact

Joy Junction 

Joy Junction is a local homeless support organization that offers emergency and short-term essentials like food, clothing, counseling, transportation, and shelter to men, women, children, and families in need. They also provide emotional or spiritual support if desired. Joy Junction serves as many as 350 people a day with as many as 60 to 80 of them being children. This organization is entirely non-profit and survives on donations and fundraising alone. One way that Joy Junction raises money is through their thrift shop. Clothes from the thrift shop are free to Joy Junction residents, but every item sold goes directly towards funding the shelter. Joy Junction also issues community vouchers to other agencies in Albuquerque who then give them out to people in need to redeem at the thrift store.

Acceptable Items:

  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Kitchen Utensils
  • Housewares
  • Baby Items
  • Backpacks
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Ect.


It is important to note that, because residents of Joy Junction have free access to clothes and items, seasonal clothing such as jackets, scarves, sun hats, sunglasses, etc. are especially appreciated. You can also donate a vehicle, working or non-working, to Joy Junction. The proceeds of the sale will benefit the organization directly, or the vehicle will be added to the Joy Junction fleet to cary out the organization’s needs.  

Donations to Joy Junction, or any homeless support organization, help support homeless people in all walks of life and make a huge impact in the lives of individuals and the community at large. Click here for Resident Testimonials


Healing Addiction In Our Community (HAC)

The HAC is a local addiction awareness and education organization dedicated to helping those who struggle with addiction, breaking the stigma associated with addiction, and providing education to prevent substance abuse. They were founded in 2010 by a group of parents and grandparents concerned about and directly impacted by the increase in youth drug related deaths. To help their mission, they founded the Serenity Mesa Recovery Center, a transitional recovery center for youths 14 to 21 years old. Serenity Mesa also provides a rental assistance program for 17-24 year olds experiencing homelessness or dangerous housing situations. Residents of Serenity Mesa often come without necessities so donations to the facility are greatly appreciated. 

Item Wish List

  • Winter Jackets
  • Hoodies/Sweaters
  • Jeans
  • Leggings
  • T-shirts
  • Pajamas
  • Shorts
  • Board Games
  • Pillows
  • Alarm Clocks
  • Twin Sheet Sets
  • Comforters
  • Bath Towels
  • Laundry Baskets
  • MP3 Players
  • Headphones
  • Iron/Ironing Boards
  • Aprons

Items donated to the facility are used directly by residents. The wish list is often changing and includes a few items usually donated new/unopened, as well as other extra-curricular items for recovering residents. The comprehensive wish list can be found here. It is important to note that clothing items donated to the facility must follow Serenity Mesa guidelines. Please reference those guidelines  here.

Substance abuse is a serious issue that contributes to community hardships in many different forms. Donating to addiction facilities, like Serenity Mesa Recovery Center, helps mitigate these hardships and gives residents the support they need to succeed. 


S.A.F.E House (Shelter and Family Empowerment) 

S.A.F.E House is a non-profit domestic violence sanctuary dedicated to helping survivors of intimate partner violence. They provide confidential housing and programs that facilitate healing and transition into a safe and healthy future. Because escape is the primary concern, those fleeing from domestic violence often do so without many necessities. Essential items, along with items needed to start a new life, are provided by the sanctuary organization when possible. At the S.A.F.E House, items donated go directly to residents at no cost. Items that are not used by residents are sold at the S.A.F.E House thrift store, Thriftique, to help fund the shelter. 

Items Needed:

  • Shelter Essentials
    • Shoes
    • Jackets
    • Washcloths and Towels
    • Shower Curtains
    • Day Planners/Journals
  • Move-Out Items
    • Air Mattresses
    • Gently Used Furniture
    • Cookware
    • Dishware
    • Silverware
    • Small Appliances
  • Miscellaneous
    • Jewelry
    • Household Items
    • Radios/Alarm Clocks
    • Curling Irons/Blow Dryers
    • Etc.

There are many other necessities on the list that are best donated new/unopened. These items are included on the list here. Sanctuary needs are always changing as items are used. Calling ahead to check on needed items is the best way to make sure that your donations are put to immediate use. 

Often, people fleeing intimate partner violence have nowhere to go. Sometimes, this prospect may even convince them to stay in a dangerous situation. Donating to domestic violence sanctuaries like S.A.F.E House helps provide a safe haven for these survivors and a chance at a brighter future. 



VetsConnect is an organization run by the Vietnam Veterans of America that focuses on support and reintegration for veterans. Even though they help all veterans, VetsConnect is particularly focused on helping veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their main goal, as Vietnam veterans, is to ensure that no veteran is ever abandoned like the returning Vietnam vets. 

Donating used items to VetsConnect is easier than you may think. They frequently post flyers on mailboxes requesting items for curbside pickup, which you may recognize by the attached yellow bags. Items donated to VetsConnect via pick up or delivered directly to their connected thrift store, Family Thrift Center, are sold, and the proceeds go towards funding their programs. 

Acceptable Items:

  • Clothing of all types and sizes
  • Baby Blankets
  • Baby Books
  • Books
  • Toys
  • Bikes
  • Small Appliances
  • Kitchenware
  • Small Furniture
  • Rugs, Curtains
  • Stereos, Radios, Portable TVs

Donating to organizations that help veterans supports a population that has sacrificed much for their country and community. Showing appreciation for this sacrifice through donations and additional support gives something back to those vets and fosters community bonds. 


Locker #505 

Locker#505 is a local nonprofit organization that provides students in need with clothes that they can feel good about. Having clean, appropriate clothing helps students feel confident and allows them to concentrate on school rather than feeling embarrassed by inadequate or ill-fitting clothes. Since opening in 2014, Locker#505 has helped clothe over 12,000 students. They have six drop off locations that can be found here

Items in need:

  • Men’s shoes (new): sizes 7, 8.5, 10, 10.5
  • Women’s shoes (new): sizes 7, 7.5, 8, 9.5
  • Boy’s shoes (new): sizes 1 (urgent), 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Girl’s shoes (new): sizes 11, 12, 13, 1, 2 (urgent), 3, 4
  • Boy’s jeans/sweatpants
  • Girl’s sweatpants/jeans/leggings
  • Girl’s shirts
  • Boy’s shirts
  • Women’s bras: 32 A-D, 34 A-D, 36 A-B
  • Men’s hoodies: 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X

Locker#505’s donation needs are often changing, so check the website before donating to ensure that your items go to students in need today. Donating to organizations that helps students directly impacts their future success, and all students deserve the greatest chance of success their community can provide.


Animal Humane New Mexico  

Animal Humane New Mexico is the state’s leading nonprofit animal welfare organization. They serve over 10,000 homeless and at-risk animals a year and have been open for over 50 years. Their services include: helping animals find homes, providing spay/neuter surgeries, pet food distribution, and more. Items donated to the Animal Humane thrift store are sold to the public, and the proceeds generated make up over 12% of their annual budget. 

Acceptable Items:

  • Furniture
  • Kitchenware
  • Clothing
  • Houseware
  • Etc

NON-Acceptable Items:

  • Mattresses
  • Sofa Sleepers,
  • Box Style TVs
  • Printers
  • Metal Desks,
  • Broken/Damaged Items
  • Building/Construction Materials

Items can be donated directly to the thrift shop, or you can call and schedule a large furniture curbside pick-up. Advocating for our furry friends through donations gives these homeless pets a chance at a happy and healthy future. 



As I mentioned in the beginning of the blog, my research led me to some pretty amazing organizations. And while all the organizations I found are helping their communities in the best of ways, I simply can’t mention them all. However there are two more I want to highlight. 

Angels Acts of Kindness

Angels Acts of Kindness is an organization dedicated to helping individuals in need through a multitude of means. They distribute needed items to other organizations. They connect individuals with programs needed provided by their intricate knowledge of the nonprofit network. They even assist individuals and families that may not qualify for assistance through other organizations. They truly believe in helping others in any way possible and embody that through their tireless work. To find out what items are most needed/acceptable, you can contact them directly. Contact information found here. 


Clothes Helping Kids 

Clothes Helping Kids is an organization that supports local nonprofit organizations specifically dedicated to helping kids. The money raised by/donated to Clothes Helping Kids generates grants that the organization then awards to NPO’s throughout the state. They have been open since 2000 and have awarded over 200 grants totaling over 1.5 million dollars. Organizations awarded grants range from children’s art programs, organizations that support grandparents raising children, supporting schools on reservations, and much more. To find out what items can be donated to Clothes Helping Kids, visit their donation page found here



To find additional local organizations in need of support, you can visit these links below:



We finally made it to the end! Hopefully these resources help you make informed decisions about donating. You might also feel completely overwhelmed by the info dump, which is totally okay too! If you don’t feel like making the decision on where to donate, you can always hire someone to do it for you. A local recommendation of ours is Junk King Albuquerque. They offer residential junk removal, commercial junk removal, and E-Waste recycling services. One of the greatest things about their company is that they end up recycling/donating, on average, 60% of the items they haul away. Junk King’s eco-friendly attitude, as well as their great customer-service practices, makes them our top choice for junk removal.  


So, whether it is helping furry friends find forever homes, providing kids with school clothes they can feel confident in, or simply donating last year’s backpack to help the homeless keep their possessions safe, your donations matter more than you know. 

Until next time,


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