OFCP monetizes old goods for charity while helping you clear out your closet


Kids grow out of things quickly — that’s literally in terms of clothes, and more figuratively when it comes to things like toys and books.

Passing these things down to younger siblings, or even cousins and friends of the family, are among the options you have when these items are no longer useful to the kids who had them first. But if you can’t find someone to take them, what then?

They need not take up useful space or be wasted.

There are several charities that will come to your home and take that stuff off your hands, many of which also provide bins around the community where you can drop it off yourself.

The Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy (OFCP) is one those organizations. Gordana Skrba, the OFCP’s executive director, says because families with children go through clothes and goods so briskly, they are a prime source of donations. As well, people who are moving or “going through any change in their lives” tend to be regular donors to the program, she says.

The OFCP has been around for about 70 years, while its system of taking in used goods and turning them into money has been ongoing for about 20 years. In fact, Skrba says this aspect of the operation accounts for most of the money the OFCP raises to support people with cerebral palsy and conduct research into the disease.

“It plays an integral part,” Victor Gascon, president of the CP4CP Trust (which runs the goods-pickup operation), says of the donation of clothes and other items.

Ottawa is among the cities in Ontario where this goods-pickup system exists, along with Kingston, Toronto, and the region around Hamilton, London and Cambridge.

The way these items are monetized is through a partnership that sees them sold at Value Village retail outlets. OFCP has exclusive arrangements to be the sole beneficiary of donated goods at several Value Village locations, including the ones on Cyrville Road in Ottawa’s east end and on Hazeldean Road in Stittsville.

The operation for home pickup is pretty straightforward. The organization might call you randomly or because you’re a past donor, or you can call them to arrange a pickup date. They’ll ask you to put bags of donations marked with “CP” on the front porch by 8 a.m. on the day of pickup, and one of group’s drivers will get them sometime that day.

“We have a lot of repeat customers,” Gascon notes.

The OFCP, like other groups, asks that the goods donated be “gently used” — in other words, no junk. Rather than helping the cause, providing unusable items is a detriment to the OFCP mandate because its saddles the organization with disposal costs and wastes time.

Fortunately, Gascon says the vast majority of goods donated are in acceptable condition, particularly when they come directly from people’s homes as opposed to what’s dropped off anonymously at community bins.

“Otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth being in the business of doing it because our disposal fees would be phenomenal,” he says.


Photo: © puhimec