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Mar 5 UPDATE: This order is proving a bit more laborious to expedite than our vendor had originally anticipated, so these boxes haven't been shipped out yet. Anyone who filled in a form should receive an email with tracking information as soon as their box is shipped. Anyone who didn't catch the email on time, please see this other post.


Jan 30 UPDATE: JNat just sent out emails to collect addresses — be on the lookout for those, and try to fill it in the next two weeks! :)

Did you receive any gifts that you'd appreciate a lot more if they were actually something that you could use, or even wanted? Do you still have some from the last few years? Don't feel bad, we've got you. Curious? Read on.

If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you've got, well, stuff. We've got stuff too, in fact, we have so much stuff that we really need to make room to order new stuff. And in order to do that, we need to give it away.

But we feel kinda bad about giving people that have an abundance of stuff even more stuff when there are so many folks out there that really need stuff, especially in colder climates right now. Our branded flashlights, keychains, stickers, mugs, mouse pads, aprons, and things of that sort are super cool, but they aren't things that charities can use directly without burning additional overhead.

That's where the stuff-a-way idea comes in. Here's how it works:

  1. You give stuff that you don't need to people that need it. That could mean dropping off some stuff to a charity, food bank, making a donation to a non-profit that can help people (if money is the thing you have too much of), handing a blanket and a cup of coffee to a homeless person, or whatever makes someone's life better than it was before you did your thing.
  2. You write an answer to this question and let us know that you did something and tell us about your random act of kindness. You can share as much or as little as you'd like; we're going to take your word for it. In your answer, tell us what sites in our network you like the most (we'll go by where you participate if you don't).
  3. We will send you a shoebox full of swag that you'll be sure to like. See what we did there? Everyone wins because:
    1. Those in need get stuff they can use immediately (things like mouse pads, aprons, pens, stickers, notebooks, and keychains aren't on that list, we're sure).
    2. You get rid of stuff you don't need. We empty our warehouse for the most part to make room for all new stuff. Your sweat equity is getting out to do something nice, our's is handling all the shipping of the goodies.
    3. You get stuff you want, in the form of a loot-box style package from us.

If you'd rather not receive anything, just say so. This event is structured so that we make sure giving is all about what the recipients actually need and the warm feelings from it come secondary (which is why we don't just bulk-donate thousands of dollars worth of stuff); beyond that, we're cool with whatever terms you like.

The rules

  1. Any user of MSE in good standing is eligible, including employees, but only one entry per person is allowed. Likewise, prizes are limited to one per participant.

  2. You must ensure that your email address associated with your account is current and verified by our system to receive your box. Not hearing back from folks is a big problem for this kind of event, so make sure the email associated with your account works, and is one that you check at least semi-frequently.

  3. To participate, you must make some kind of needed donation to a person or charitable organization in need of what you have. Canned food for a food bank? Good. Old laptops for any educational purpose? Good. A bag of fast food for a homeless person? Good. We trust that you will do good things and not require adult supervision, please prove us correct there. Also, homeless shelters need socks, sanitary pads, diapers, etc - a little research in your area can go a long way.

  4. Sweat equity is accepted as a donation (in which you go volunteer your time somewhere that meets the spirit of this event). Again, we trust that you'll make us proud of you.

  5. This event will remain open until it's very likely that we're just about out of stuff to send. That could be a month, a week, or whatever. It's hard to say with these types of events.

  6. Oh yes, the prizes! Boxes will include multiple things consisting of pens, sharpies, stickers, drink holders, aprons, battery packs, flashlights, mugs, mouse pads, staplers and other office supplies, games, shirts, hats and other items branded Stack Overflow or after other Stack Exchange websites. Some items will also include rarer prizes like hoodies, other branded outerwear and bags, books, and other surprise items.

  7. While we'll ask for your preferences, we can't guarantee what's going to be in any given box. It's a mystery, but it will be cool stuff!

  8. Our code of conduct applies to any and all activity related to this event.

Now, head to those closets, attics, or those boxes that might be under a pile of more appreciated gifts and help everyone get something that they want and need at the end of the holiday season this year.

While we hope to be able to do this again in the future, it'll depend on what we've got laying around. If any of our customers signal that they want to throw in some stuff to sweeten the communal pot luck, we'll update the post (I honestly haven't talked to anyone about this yet, kinda winging it, so check back occasionally for updates).

Commence the stuff-a-way! And, enjoy being good to your fellow living creatures that could use a little help right now.

Thank you, everyone!

The stories you've shared are full of great examples that we hope will inspire others to adopt new and creative ways of giving to those that need some help. From reminding all of us that donating blood can literally save lives, to ideas surrounding creative kits that contain essential supplies and some gift cards, you've given lots of folks great ideas and been an inspiration. This was an experiment, and because of you, it was a resounding success!

We'll be reaching out soon (really, allow the full 6 to 8 weeks here as this is a huge effort) and getting everyone that wants one their boxes of goodies. We'll very likely do something similar to this as part of Stack Exchange Gives Back next year, so stay tuned, and thanks again to everyone that participated!

  • 6
    Gifts, This year? No. ;) – MEE - Reinstate Monica Jan 2 at 19:47
  • 32
    I like how this event lets the community be a part of Stack giving Back. <3 – EKons Jan 2 at 19:48
  • 6
    @MEE I thought of inventing a time machine and finding out where you live just to go back in time and give you something yesterday, but editing the post seemed easier. Fixed. – Tim Post Jan 2 at 19:59
  • 36
    What a great idea! Does stuff we gave away in the few days before this meta post count too, or does it need to be in response to this meta post? – Monica Cellio Jan 2 at 20:43
  • 10
    This is a 2018 Stuff-A-Way, so did the act of charity have to be done last year? – Caleb Kleveter Jan 2 at 21:02
  • 8
    Best. Thing. Ever. But, why tag it as winter bash? – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jan 2 at 22:03
  • 11
    I don't like this. Charity isn't something that needs to be rewarded. – Avnish Kabaj Jan 3 at 4:50
  • 9
    @AvnishKabaj: You can do charity without it being physically rewarded. This is just a way to promote even more charitable acts. (To some degree, all charity that people do is done for the "reward" of feeling good about yourself.) – V2Blast Jan 3 at 5:44
  • 7
    @AvnishKabaj agree if we would have been given money for this. But SE swag is just pure fun, so best way to encourage us to do good things. :) – Shadow The Princess Wizard Jan 3 at 7:14
  • 17
    @AnkitSharma Any recent event is fine. There's no hard 'cutoff' other than your own instinct; if it's fresh enough to feel relevant for you, it's probably fine. In the very unlikely event that someone posts something that isn't in good faith we'll deal with it, but we won't let the possibility of someone doing that complicate things needlessly for others, if that makes sense. – Tim Post Jan 3 at 14:02
  • 13
    When will we get the emails again? – Charalampos Fanoulis Jan 5 at 19:30
  • 9
    @AgiHammerthief Isn't the whole point of charity to help people? Maybe there's merit in being humble, but the real core purpose of charity is helping people in need; telling people about it doesn't make the beneficiary benefit any less. – Ian Jan 8 at 15:44
  • 8
    I agree, @Ian. And in particular, telling others about one's efforts to give back, when encouraged to share such stories, hardly makes a user sharing such a story any less humble than one who decides not to do so. Indeed, sharing "good news" helps counter the incessant exposure to crimes and warfare and human misery, and in this way, helps folks to be inspired to contribute, rather than concluding there's no point in any thing, anyway. – Namaste Jan 8 at 22:44
  • 4
    @AgiHammerthief It depends on the context - if one is not being self-promoting ("Look at me; I'm so great..."), but rather sharing in joy, then perhaps it is right to share our joys with one another, just as we bear one another's burdens... "Joy shared is doubled; pain shared is halved." – user3.1415927 Jan 9 at 4:06
  • 7
    @Ian Nothing yet. I'm in the US. – Mooseman Feb 26 at 15:48

252 Answers 252

2

I'm not generally one for giving to charity a lot, maybe once or twice a year depending on how much stuff I've amounted recently but other than that I don't do much. I do, however, buy clothes and what not from local charities that do things in our local area for people in need. This year I was also able to give large donations to a few because I've just (literally just: 20th December) moved home and so had a lot of stuff I had pre packed to send off to charity. I managed to give away a lot of clothes to people that need them, games to some children less well off than I was and some furniture we no longer had place to, to a local charity that gives out furniture to those who can't buy it themselves.


For swag I'd generally prefer SciFi.SE stuff as that is the only site I really frequent often (waaaaay too often if you ask some people) but other than that Gaming.SE, PPCG.SE and M&TV.SE would be cool too.

  • I used to do a lot of volunteering working with younger children, mainly with sports such as coaching football and what not and volunteering marshalling at events and the like but I haven't been able to do that for a while so I left it out of my post. – TheLethalCoder Jan 3 at 9:40
2

I donated some unused networking supplies to my church today. We're running a new TV display, and network cable is much easier to run than an HDMI cord the same distance. It's not a charity as such, but it will help those in the back see our presentations that much better.

2

I have recently done 3 acts of kindness:

  1. Gave a student my old laptop.
  2. Gave out $2 bills to homeless people.
  3. This morning I donated to an open source project that I have been using for years. The first time I have ever donated to a software project!

Academia.SE and SO are my favorite sites.

2

Well, I have certainly been letting my Stack Exchange freak flag fly this season but I might as well throw my hat into the ring again, if not just as an excuse to promote some great causes.

Aside from clothing donations to Goodwill, most of my good works have been as a result of my 8 year old being a Girl Scout and my wife the co-leader of her troop. In late November we spent an afternoon team packaging 800-900 meals with the Big Heart Bridage which cooked, packed, and distributed 50,000 meals for the needy leading up to Thanksgiving. In 2017 I spent that time tearing down 4 or 5 full, roasted turkeys to bite-sized bits, by hand. It's definitely an experience: absolutely destroying turkey under tents with music pumping and encouragement being shouted at you!

On December 1st we spent a brisk morning cleaning up the beach with Friends of Jupiter Beach. People do a fairly good job of keeping our beaches clean, but it is amazing what you find - this time the standout was hundreds of little circular pieces of confetti near where some kind of celebration had occurred the previous night.

This last one is just an excuse to fit one last good link in. At the end of Girl Scout cookie season my daughter and her troop will donate 1/3 of their cut of sales to Loggerhead Marine Life Center which nurses ill and wounded sea turtles back to health (amidst other public outreach).

Roll on 2019!

My favorite site is Stack Oveflooooooow. <3

2

My family and I regularly donate to the clothing ministry run by our church. We also help out during the donation day where people can come get close for the year, along with canned goods.

2

Not sure if that qualifies as an answer, but I remember it like it happened yesterday!

A couple of years ago I was leaving San Francisco for Athens, and was shocked by the vast amount of homeless people. Long story short, I gathered some extra clothes of mine, and gave it all away to a homeless guy in Bryant and 3rd str.

But he was sleeping, so I just left them aside him, and rushed to the airport.

And I remember, after a couple of blocks, a man who my brain photographed in a non-ephemeral fashion, riding his bicycle, holding everything I had given the homeless person!

And I stoped and looked at him, as he was rapidly passing by, and he had such a cold, casual-everyday look, like nothing has happened, like he didn't (wasn't) even care! His look froze me, and by the time my brain shouted at me to do something, that guy was already gone - and with suitcases and stuff, there was no chance in catching up . . .

The Epimythion: On an act of helping the others, make sure you that you complete the task! Or you might find yourself trapped in an eternal question of whether you could have done better...

Lesson learned and last year I made sure that I jumped all the bureaucratic hurdles to actively help in the oil spill in Hellas!

2

Excellent way to unload old swag and benefit needy persons. Well done, Stack Exchange!

For me, I have a very nice Adidas heavy coat that I've had for a decade. It has spent almost all of that decade hung up in the closet. I tried wearing it recently and my wife commented that I look like a kid. Well, I'm approaching "grumpy balding dad" these days, so it's not really my style anymore.

It has no damage or stains at all and I'd say is still stylish. There's an orphanage near my house that I donate things and money to on occasion. I was going to take this over there anyway, but I wouldn't mind an SE loot box for myself.

I would prefer branded swag for the following sites, in the following order:

  1. Skeptics
  2. Bitcoin (only if you have branded material, which probably doesn't exist)
  3. Stack Overflow
  4. Worldbuilding (Not there much, but love the branding)
  5. Personal Finance and Money (same as above)
  6. Stack Exchange

If you don't have those brands anymore, meh. Pay it forward to someone else. A mug would go well with that "grump balding dad" motif I'm going for these days ;)

2

I seem to collect friends who are artists, disabled, and/or down on their luck, so I generally give them my slightly outdated electronics, like iPhones, iPads, laptops, even networking gear. This Christmas one of them complained that her building's WiFi had been out for 2 months, so I gave her a WiFi router.

I spend most of my time on StackOverflow, but I like Ask Different best.

2

CloudFlare recently started onboarding people to their domain registrar in waves, and if you wanted to get access sooner you could donate to Girls Who Code - an organization helping to close the gender gap in technology -, so that's exactly what I did.

Despite getting access sooner, none of the domains I currently own were eligible for transfer. To me the greatest thing about this service is that it was a driving force encouraging me to contribute to a better cause.

My favourite SE site is Stack Overflow.

2

This year we did the usual: Round-up the kids' toys that are in good condition (some even unopened!) and get them along with their latest batch of outgrown clothes to Goodwill before December so they can be in the hands of less fortunate kids by the Holidays.

Unusual this year: A friend mentioned that a local church's orchestra was in need of violinists. I'd never been to that church, and I hadn't really played my violin in many years, but I was classically trained. So I gave myself a tune-up, showed up for orchestra rehearsals, and was actually surprised at how much that little orchestra means to people.

2

Perfect timing! I have some clothing and things that may be donated soon, but I actually made a charity donation recently! In the lead up to the Christmas holiday, I made my first donation to the Detroit Water Project.

I hope to see future campaigns like this! I always like getting swag from things like the cheese/hat competitions, but using it to incentivize donation is even better!

I am primarily a regular of Stack Overflow.

2

Free Public Schools in India to educate the poor often lack substantial funds to maintain their campus and to educate the poor. Some schools and colleges in my city organize annual programs to help these public schools.

I had volunteered a couple of months ago and helped dig and mark a volleyball court for underprivileged kids, and then painted a small portion of a wall. I plan on volunteering again this year.

My family had also contributed generously for the 2018 Kerala Floods in my country, which left thousands homeless.

My primary SE site is StackOverflow.

2

A great idea!

As every year I donated clothes that I don't want any more. I also donated a little bit money directly to a few particular charities and organizations that I think should be supported more.

Edit: My favorite site is Stack Overflow

2

I like to help out where I can, and last year I had a few opportunities to do so.

I recently reorganized my room, including my closet and noticed I had a lot of clothes that I never wear, either because they no longer fit, or I didn't wear that style anymore. So I collected all the clothes I didn't want anymore (about 4 trash bags full) and gave them to my neighbor who is a pastor at a nearby church to donate to those who needed them.

One of my friend's father recently passed away from a brain tumor, and was in the hospital for quite some time. He was the primary source of income for their family prior to becoming ill, so a friend of the family setup a GoFundMe to help them with medical and living expenses and I donated what I could afford to spare to help out.

I also try and give a small donation to the college I went to every year to help fund scholarships as I know from personal experience, receiving a scholarship can be the one thing that allows you to afford to go in the first place.


PS: I mainly participate on Arqade, and a mouse pad would be cool :)

2

My wife and I made a habbit a while back to donate to charity around 50€ every month. We picked a new one each month to try to reach out to various subjects. We even asked friends and familly to donate to charity (acting in domains around childcare and pregnancy in general) instead of gifting us excess stuff for our newborn last year¹.

But the habbit went from every month to every month or two; to sometimes. So, even though we sent a month worth of meal vouchers to a national food bank in december, I made sure to pick a charity again this month.

Reading a lot of other answerers donating their blood, platelets and bone marrow, I also registered as potential bone marrow donor (will need a medical exam before being on the official list) and will plan to give my blood in the next days.


Greetings from a CodeReview regular

2

I wasn't going to post, as I have plenty of swag, but I have been persuaded that I should. I can always give new swag away :-)

Each year I typically choose one or two charities to help out, and over the last 18 years they have been children's charities (as I have a few kids)

For a long time I'd raise money through marathons, running for NSPCC or CHAS, and posting times ranging from moderately slow, a bit under 4 hours, to very slow: my worst two were done with injuries and were a 6 hour Paris marathon and a 5 hour 30 minute Edinburgh marathon.

With the bands I have had over the years I have played charity gigs - again, mostly for children's charities. One that stands out from many years ago was a 3 hour epic playing all the cover versions we knew.

In the UK we have annual events for Children In Need and Sport Relief, and my favourite fund raiser was a mile climb, along with a stuntman friend of mine, at Europe's biggest indoor climbing centre. To get to a mile we had to climb the tallest pitch there (a 6C) 65 times. Was fun by the end of it...

In the security industry in the UK we have the WhiteHat Rally - a fairly competitive car rally, that has taken in routes such as London to Monaco, Brighton to Blackpool and various others, with the aim being to solve puzzles, navigate and carry out tasks to raise the most money as a team for Barnardo's. And the two years I took part, the team I was on raised the most!

And along with my family, we raise money for a local children's cancer support charity, Jak's Den.

Along with another couple of Security Stack Exchange folks I have run BSides Scotland, an annual security conference in Scotland as a charity, helping educate the local community, and this year I am running a kid's track to help teach them safety online, hacking, understanding security, lockpicking and career planning.

I'm mostly active on Security, Parenting, Music, Outdoors and Motor Vehicles... as you could probably guess :-)

2

As part of a school project, me and my friends volunteered at a school for children with physical and learning disabilities.

It's not exactly donating money or items, but the children we worked with were facing difficulties and we were able to brighten up their day a little bit and put a smile on their face 🙂


As for favorite site, I am a programmer so I spend most of my time on StackOverflow, even if I'm new to this network.

2

I've always been helping one in need ever since I've started earning a bit more than needs of my family.

Though extending our used to the one in need has always been a good act - I usually avoid giving it directly to one in need, I instead give it to NGO's who refurbish them and make something good out of it for the needy. I believe in giving new stuff only as the one in need also have craving for it - used items all must have been donating to them.

I try to extend my help mainly to areas where I've myself struggled / craved getting same in my childhood, like paying semester fees for someone in need, giving textbooks, buying new clothes for orphans, buying fancy toys (remote controlled car - I always craved for it in my childhood but was not fortunate enough to play with it), I am not directly associated with any NGO but I extend these helps via our company's CSR activity every year.

2

I'd love some swag :)

I'm a huge fan of thrift stores. So, in those phases when I realize that I have way too much stuff, that's where I head. I'm back at my parents house for several months where most of my stuff is stored. So, this Christmas I bagged up some usable toys, books and shoes and brought them over to a local charity store. I'll definitely be doing some more loads over the next couple months.


My favorite SE sites are: Stack Overflow & Software Engineering. I would really appreciate getting at least 1 sticker :).

1

In Israel, small beverage containers (cans and little bottles) are worth money if collected and brought to a store (equal to approximately 8 US cents). I tried to collect the containers that I use and bring them to stores for a refund. But quite frankly, the amount is not enough and I just forgot about it, causing my car to be filled with beverage containers. Instead, what I do now is I still collect them, but instead of trying to remember to give it back at a supermarket, I leave them next to trash cans where I know that people search and collect those cans and bottles. I always leave them next to the trash can and not inside so that they wouldn't have to rummage through trash to get 8 cents. If I see someone collecting cans, I would approach them and give them whatever I have collected by now. I fill that in this way everyone wins, the people who need it get the small amount of money, which is significant for them. I get to make sure that the cans get to be recycled.

We also try to "get rid" of unneeded stuff in a responsible way, donating old clothes, books and toys. There was a project in my alma mater that took computer parts and created computers for underprivileged kids, but they stopped taking parts and now only take full computers. So if anyone knows of a place that will take old computer parts in Israel, I would gladly donate them.

1

In figuring out how to donate, I discovered that my work has a benefit that doubles my donation to any non profit!

I was able to find the EIN's (tax codes) for several local charities punch them in to my works donation page and 'double' my money in donating to them, now I feel twice as good for donating!

1

I donated 2 bags of clothing to the Salvation Army last year and I gave away a box of Domino's Pizza that was left over from a meetup to two homeless people at a local subway station. They were so happy to receive an entire box of pizza that would have otherwise been thrown out. They literally said, "Seriously?" and they thought there was more to it but I told them no problem and went about my way back home.

I also donated to a little girl that needed surgery while I was at the Dominican Republican.

Besides that I organize a book club and try to get copies of books if my book club members can't afford to purchase the book.

My favorite Stack Exchanges sites are StackOverflow and Code Review.

1

I get gifts from family. Unfortunately, they are rarely useful to me. So every year I donate them to the Jefferson County Pet Food Pantry Thrift Shop (trying saying that 3 times fast). Anyway, they have a thrift store and the money is used to buy pet food to help the low income and elderly keep their pets at home and off the streets and out of shelters. They also spay/neuter and will provide limited vet bill help. So every year right after Xmas I drop a car load off. Deb is kind enough to let me know what it brings in so I can calculate it as I fed 30 dogs, 10 cats and spayed 4 of each with my donation.

1

I gave my student solutions manual for Calculus 1 & 2 to the Tutoring and Learning Center at my local community college. They probably would have been helpful when I inevitably forgot how to do something, but I think the students taking those classes need them more.

Last semester I started volunteering as a tutor at said Learning Center, and I am very grateful for the opportunities this has given me for helping out the students. It's truly wonderful when you see a student finally understand something they've been having trouble with.

Although I agree with some of the other people who have said that you shouldn't volunteer or give things to charity because you want a reward, I also think that's not really what this is about. I think the purpose of this is to get people started with helping other people, and maybe they'll realize they want to continue doing so. I think the purpose of this challenge is similar to that of banquets to recognize firefighters and police officers (although on a much smaller scale). We always want to recognize people who do good in the community. Also, who doesn't want SE swag!

My favorite Stack Exchange site is Math Stack Exchange.

1

I love being able to help this night happen (at this point monetarily). I'm also considering volunteering my time to help there as well. It's a great event for people that are easily ignored most of the time. http://centralpanighttoshine.com/

the Main Stack Overflow is the site I enjoy and contribute the most. Second would be Arqade.

1

I decided to do some "Winter cleaning" after watching the Marie Kondo show on Netflix and me and my hubby donated some clothes to an organization called Grassroots Givers, they give away (NOT SELL) clothes, books, shoes etc. to homeless people entering shelters and transitional housing in my area. I made a conscious effort to find an organization that actually helps these people because while Goodwill is nice, they make money off of donations, and I'm not such a big fan of that.

Additionally, earlier this year after moving to an apartment I donated a table and chairs set that were not needed to Habitat for Humanity furniture store, where they sell some furniture and give some away to people who receive new homes from the organization. All the money goes to Habitat for Humanity.

I'm new to Stack Exchange, and I enjoy spending time on Interpersonal Skills and reading questions on Geographic Information Systems and Seasoned Advice.

1

So, I'm part of a paramilitary program called the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps., which in a nutshell, is a mini-Navy without the combat. Over my winter break, I took 9 days to train 28 (27 after one got kicked out.) how to march, among many other things, as well as supervise them over the 9 days. I got 4 hours of sleep a day on average, and went as hard with the recruits as myself. I also worked with the adult staff to make sure everything was in order for them to graduate and look good in from of their parents. for confirmation, I'll give you a thing to post in the search bar of Facebook for the group: "USNSCC TC NBK WINTER RT 2018" I hope you all have a great day!

1

Stackoverflow user here! Just donated some bags of rice and macaroni to a food drive at my local boardgame store!

1

SE reminded me before answering that I might improve on previous answers. I can't. It looks like people did some incredible stuff here.

We gave away 4 dining room chairs to a local Goodwill-type place. We just figured someone else could use them more than we could because it's 4 more than the size of our family.

1

I mostly donate my old cloths to people living in the streets. I also donate blood every year.


Stackoverflow: spend most of the time there.

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