Reuse: Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

29 05 2013

Reduce, reuse, recycle. A great motto to live by.

Recycling is fairly easy and straightforward, especially when there are lots of places around Vancouver to do so, but about reusing? Where do you go with items that can reused and not resold, like the Salvation Army or Value Village? Where can you donate your items for a good cause?

For the past few days, I’ve been going around and donating some stuff I no longer need to various organizations and charities around Vancouver. I should have been making a list of resources of my progress– but it’s never too late!

Last week, I went through my bathroom and found some toiletries– travel-sized toothpaste, some opened lotions/moisturizers, and a bottle of unopened hair gel– that I wouldn’t be using. I scoured the Internet to find a place that might accept toiletries, and many people suggested women’s shelters (in general, not specific to Vancouver). That’s how I found the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, located at 302 Columbia Street (by Cordova, downtown Vancouver).

They have a wishlist of donations they are always accepting. Here is their list, taken from their website (

  • arts and craft supplies
  • used DVDs
  • used women’s clothing
  • linens and towels
  • socks and underwear (new or gently used)
  • footwear
  • coats and rain-gear
  • toiletries (travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, new soap, toothpaste and brushes, hand cream and makeup)
  • picture frames
  • chalk
  • gardening supplies
  • mason jars
  • button maker
  • alcohol wipes
  • hand sanitizer pump dispensers
  • craft supplies: beading supplies, knitting needles and yarn, plain vests for sewing regalia
  • usb/flashdrive’s
  • reading glasses
  • menstrual pads

It doesn’t say explicitly, but it’s implied that the shelter doesn’t take opened cosmetics/lotions, and when I contacted them if they might accept the unopened hair gel, they didn’t respond (I ended up putting it in the bag anyway, since I don’t see why they wouldn’t accept it). I did find a whole bunch of photo frames in my garage that were hardly used (and two small ones that had never been used), which I gladly put in my donation bag. As well, I went through my DVD collection, and picked a whole bunch of films that I would probably no longer watch. Sure, I could have posted an ad on craigslist to sell them, but everyone’s selling DVDs nowadays that I likely wouldn’t have been able to get rid of them. And anyway, the money is not what’s important in this case.

IMPORTANT! (if you are a man): A young lady who was also going in held the door for me. When I was inside, a woman who worked there asked me if she could help me, and I replied that I had some items I wanted to donate. She informed me that since I was a man, I was supposed to ring the bell and wait for someone to come and talk to me, not walk right in. Immediately, I apologized, as I could see why this might be a necessary precaution. There was nothing on the DEWC’s website that mentioned anything about that, so I had no idea.

So if you happen to be a man and are looking to go down to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre to donate some items — ring the bell!

In summary, here are the deets:

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
Address: 302 Columbia Street (by Cordova); ring the bell if you are a man.
– Donations are accepted between 9am – 5pm. Avoid dropping off items between 12:30pm -1:45pm as staff are on their lunch breaks.
– Have an item but not sure if it’s appropriate to be donated? Give them a call! 604-681-8480, extension 226, or email them at


Ice cream for all?

27 02 2012

There’s a groupon for 53% off 12 Dairy Queen Dilli Bars or DQ Ice Cream Sandwiches, which is really good!  I would get it myself but I’m trying not to eat any more ice cream since it’s not as healthy as frozen yogurt.  It’s still really delicious though, and I want to get this groupon but I don’t know what I would do with so much ice cream.  A thought came to me: what if I bought it and went around to, say, the Children’s Hospital or something and handed them out to the kids?  Although I’d have to keep them frozen somehow… a cooler, maybe?  I want someone’s input but I don’t think I have much time to buy the groupon if I choose to do that.

Any thoughts?