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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!

closed as off-topic by Tim Post Jan 9 at 18:06

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question." – Tim Post
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 6
    Gifts, This year? No. ;) – MEE was the missing bracket 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 Dragon 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 Dragon 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

253 Answers 253

3

On the streets of India, it is not an uncommon site to see children begging. I see such children of all ages almost every day when commuting or biking.

It always saddens me to see these kids of the same age as me and my siblings on the street, when they could be learning or playing.

As a student myself, there's not much that I can do, but I volunteer at after-school teaching programs whenever I can - and we stay back after school to teach less privileged children.

Today evening while going out biking, I'm going to go purchase as much candy and chocolate that I can with my saved up pocket money, and go distribute it to the kids who can inevitably under the nearby overpass. It's not much, but at least it'll bring a smile to a few faces.

I'll update in a few hours.

  • Update: The deed has been done :) – rahuldottech Jan 6 at 4:25
3

Some boxes of items we don't use anymore donated to The Kent in Kitchener. It is run by the Mennonite Central Committee which uses funds raised to provide relief work, refugee resettlement, and people in poverty. A Stackoverflow network user here.

3

My wife and I regularly collect items to donate to Goodwill (and have a bag of items right now that is ready to be dropped by). We also contribute monetarily to the Atlanta Community Food Bank to help them feed the hungry around Atlanta.

We also keep a couple bags of items in our car to give out to those asking for things which contains some food, pads, water, etc. Great way to be able to help out.

I'm most active on Stack Overflow, but also like Ask Different, Server Fault, Unix and Linux, and Ask Ubuntu.

3

I give an annual donation to the Björn Steiger Stiftung (English) in order to help making defibrillators more accessible in Germany. They work with donations only despite playing such an important role in helping people quickly.

Unfortunately most of them are in public buildings which do not always have open and are apart several hundred meters usually so if you or someone else have an issue, this important help is often too far away to be effective which is one of the many problems the foundation tries to work against.

Other projects of the foundation include:

  • Reanimation training in schools
  • A special built baby ambulance for premature infants
  • SOS-telephones on German streets

I am mostly connected to Stack Overflow (work and chat) and Aviation.SE (hobby) :)

3

Feed the homeless, help the little ones.

This morning, as we do on the first Saturday of every month, our men's group at church prepared and served breakfast for the people at the homeless shelter downtown; usually about 200-250 breakfast tacos, coffee, bottled water, and donated fresh fruit. (We are part of a rotation of local churches who do that on the weekends). Each November I roast a turkey at home and deliver it to the dinner at the shelter on the week before Thanksgiving.

This past August we went out to a local facility that takes in children who have no parents (ages infant to mid- teen) and keeps them safe and secure until the foster parent system gets them a place or a relative can legally become their legal guardian. How each one got there is a sad story ...
The children were all in the west wing for the day, and we stripped, cleaned, and waxed the floors in the east wing (the living quarters). (A few weeks later, another church men's group did the other side ...)

This was in addition to the picnics we put on for the kids in the spring and fall: we buy and cook the food, get the bouncy ball rides, shaved ice vendors, and so on. Different faces each time, but the need never changes. I am glad this shelter is there, but I do wish there wasn't a need for it.


Most active on Aviation, Christianity, History, RPG, SF&F SEs.

3

This is so awesome! thank you all for doing this! :D

My participation was to donate to an organization that supports immigrants children especially for medical needs, the cool thing was that my company matches our donations!

3

I try every year to donate directly to already existing scholarships at my graduate school alma mater.

My undergraduate thirty-year reunion was last year so I donated to my old department and the "club" that I enjoyed the most: the handbell choir!

With 2 young kids, I seem to always be sorting through their clothes for too-small or not-worn items. These go to our local assistance league. Last week I expanded my hunt and cleaned out my "good clothes" closet--from which I haven't worn anything for probably 10 years. The results (several bags worth) will hopefully provide people with some work clothes.

For general charities, my go-to has been Medicine Without Borders although I try to donate to friends' charities via FB.

I am very glad to be in a position that makes donations possible and easy.

My favorite sites are [Travel.se], [Expatriates.se], [scifi.se], and [gis.se] although I also lurk on Academia, Workplace, Personal Finance, and Law.

  • And my box of swag arrived yesterday! I had asked, if possible, if I could get two gaming or arcade t-shirts for my 2 kids...sure enough, the shirts were in there! Thanks! – mkennedy Mar 20 at 19:57
3

My spouse and I were inspired by this post to go through our old clothes today and ended up making two trips to Goodwill drop off locations. We even threw in shoes and jackets too! Coincidentally, my brother and his wife, who are expecting their first child in May, visited our house today in the middle of our donation vibe and we sent them home with bags full of breastfeeding supplies and maternity clothes.

As an active StackOverflow member, a holiday donation that really resonated was donating a little-used Chromebook to a single mother who can't afford a new laptop and now uses it as their everyday computer primarily for night classes.

Incredibly inspiring to read through all these stories, makes me proud to be a member of the SE community :)

3

For me I prefer the simple ways of helping which is donating my old and replaced items to goodwill or other charity organizations.

Old/replaced cloths off to a goodwill. Old electronic devices off to goodwill. Old furniture, appliances and other house hold items off to goodwill. To me this is a great thing that can help people in need and also reduce waste as these items can still have plenty of good life left in them.

Another fun way to help out is when possible to purhcase items from services that will also donate to a charity. Examples of this are humble bundle for different items or amazon smile which can donate a small amount from every purchase.

3

The idea of receiving goodies from Stack was so thrilling that I like to participate too. :) (Although maybe it is better to do such things without telling everyone, but I love to get these Stack gifts).

A week ago, I gave some clothes to a charity that I knew for four years. I usually gave stuffs that I don't need to them to gave them to people that refer to them.

Also I know a person via a close friend. This person has no permanent job and he have to work daily to have an income to support his and his wife expense. Sometimes when he came short in supplying their needs, or an unfortunate situation like sickness occurs, he asks my friend for help and my friends tries to raise some money from his friends for him. As my friend is so close to me, he always tell me and I try to help an amount that I can.

And I think it is better to do something new as a result of participating in this announcement. So I commit myself to check my closet and give some warm clothes to someone in need in this week.

3

I've just booked in an appointment to give blood about this time tomorrow. Assuming all goes well, I'll give 470mL of whole blood, which will be used to help people with serious medical conditions or injuries, maybe even help save a life. It's been a little while since I last gave blood, so this was a good reminder that I'm overdue. I'll update once I've made the donation.

My favourite site on this network is the TeX stackexchange.

3

What a coincidence!

A couple of days ago I cleaned and packed up a lot of clothes that I don't need anymore. I thought I'd rather donate all that to someone who needs it.

Then, I saw this post on SE! Wow! Yesterday, I donated the clothes to the German Red Cross organization which surely can forward the donations to all people who are really in need.

Nice idea, SE! Hats off to you!

(BTW, I'm primarily active on StackOverflow, if you ask.)

3

I am a Sri Lankan resident, where the education is free of charge, even for your first degree. (Which is why I am here today, if there wasn't anything called free education, I will not be a Software Engineer today).

Even though we have free education, I've faced many difficulties during my studies. We have to buy stationeries and school uniforms which some people do not have enough purchasing power find it hard to do. Me, and my mother (She's a single mother) went through really tough times. But today, I earn much better.

Hence I am helping some children in need around my resident area, who find it hard to buy new books and cloths for the school, in the new year.

I have bought books and cloth packs for 5 kids, whose parents do not have funds to do so.

My team in the office this time replaced our Annual Secret Santa program, to help out some children in an orphanage too. We bought cloths, food, and stationeries for them, and we are currently planning a day out with them, with some music and fun items.

I contribute to StackOverflow primarily. I am also a user of IoT beta.

3

I just gave a big garbage bag of all my old clothes to the homeless people that live near me. These people stay alive from begging and selling marijuana in Johannesburg. It's an extreme life and many don't make it for very long. Clothes are things that are always needed especially with all the rain and for when Winter returns. The guys are very humble and are always happy to receive some donated items. I have been doing this kind of thing in the same community of homeless people since I was at school.

3

I generally try to avoid having too much stuff* so I don't have much to give away. Not spending too much on physical stuff leaves me with more numerical stuff (i.e. on my bank account) which I can share.

So I just donated a few hundred bucks each to two local charities: a homeless shelter (focusing on homeless alcoholics aka the "not so cool" homeless people, which tend to be the ignored among the ignored) and a children's hospice.

* Because I know I don't need most of the existing stuff. The offered reward stuff is actually useful, though. Except for, I guess, hats.

3

This was the perfect excuse to get spring cleaning out of the way early this year! I have so many clothing items I never wear... Donated 2 garbage bags of clothes along with some hats and gloves (Minnesota is a cold place). And although it's not money or "stuff", we regularly volunteer time at our local animal shelter.

It's wonderful to see all the stories here. Shout out to all those giving blood; I wish I could do that without passing out :)

3

Long term SO user and SE lover in general! (For recent feedback on some controversy, What I love the most is the Hot Questions list ^^).

Every year, around this dates I usually donate some amoutn of money to the Tech companies I consider they do the best work for our online/tech world. Wikimedia Foundation is a no brainer every year, and this year Mozilla and EFF won my 10€ each. Just because Firefox, Rust and Online Rights are rightly indispensable, and great efforts to secure and improve our lives online.

BUT, as I did not know if this would count towards this, I inmediatly gone to our nearest food bank and gave several rice packs to them. It happened that I met some way-old classmate working there, so, double win!

Keep up with the good work! SE, this site deserves the same respect as Wikimedia!

For the lulz, I would really fancy somehting from ServerFault, or SO in general! But whatever you had at hand would be awesome!

Happy 2019 everyone.

3

With nearly 200 answers as I write this, I think the SE community can be very proud of it's achievements!

For my own contribution:

For the past 18 months, I've been volunteering at our local heritage railway, which is entirely run by volunteers. This has entailed leaning a number of skills that would otherwise be dying out as technology evolves, but which are important to preserve for posterity, while also helping to educate future generations about our industrial heritage and 19th-20th century history - and it provides a good balance to my day job in R&D.

3

I donate 20 euro to the UNO every month to help on their refugee program.

My favorite SE site is stackoverflow.

3

My few neighbors and me, collect our old woolen clothes. Every one of us spread words to our close friends as well so that we can have as many clothes as possible. We start doing it from the middle of December because actually unbearable winters start from new year in Delhi. By the end of December, we segregate clothes according to gender and Age. We distribute these clothes outside railway stations, slum areas, Temples, Gurudwara, Masjids, Metro stations (Tube/Subway) on the first weekend of the new year. We've been doing it from past three years now. I Would like this opportunity to share nice initiative happening in a couple of cities in India. Maybe, someone else can start it their own city/country. Some of city/locality resident mark one wall in their area as "Neki ki deewar" which literally means "wall of goodness". People put stuff which is not in use, there. A person who needs something, can walk up to that wall and get whatever they need.

I primarily use stack overflow.

3

In India you'll find beggars near temples, mosque, traffic signal, market, bus station, railway station etc. I have always believed that no one should pay a penny to them but I find it really difficult to do so every time so I hold my self strong to ignore them and let them pass by. One day, a friend of mine gave away 20 INR to one beggar, I asked him whether he know where his money will be spent, may be that beggar will get some drug or spend on alcohol, he looked at me and said, "I don't know but I know that he was hungry!". I was surprised how he can be so sure, so we decided to follow that beggar and make sure he don't spend that money on something unethical or illegal stuff, to my surprise that beggar bought a large cup of tea and 2 packets of biscuit. I thought why we ignore the needy because of those who cheat, may be number of people who really need help are very less compared to those who pretend to be in need for money if I talk about India.

From that day, I decided to save small amount of money from my salary for those who are hungry and can't earn money to get food. However, I don't donate it to any NGO or charitable trust because I can't completely trust them. Whenever, any beggar ask me for money I counter him by saying "Do you need money for food?" If he says "Yes", I simply buy him some food packets or order something for him in restaurant near by. Trust me, most of them refuses to have food, instead they insist to give them money. Also, I don't only limit it to human, but feed many street animals whenever I feel they need food.

Not sure whether this is really an act of kindness but I strongly find it a part of my moral duties as a human being. That's it!

My favorite site is stackoverflow.

3

I operate an ad hoc chapter of The Burrito Project in San Antonio. We try to once a month get together and roll about 500 warm rice and bean burritos and then hit the streets by bicycle handing them out to those who are hungry and living on the streets. No proselyting, no politics, just people helping people. We held our last roll 'n' ride on Saturday.

Also around this time of year, my family and I take our old coats downtown, and zip them up around telephone poles with a tag saying free to take. We did that about two weeks ago.

Favorite sites: StackOverflow and CodeReview

  • This is a pretty awesome idea! Thanks for sharing :o) – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 7 at 16:10
3

So I've donated to two main charities:

1) St Leonards Hospice who raise money for those with life threatening illnesses. Have donated toys, books and lots of clothing there (partly to clear out space!).

2) I also managed to salvage a whole load of stationary & equipment (including a very large and heavy laser printer... not fun to shift!) to donate to the local Foodbank in my city as they've just moved to a new office.

I primarily use StackOverflow

3

Since I was 10, I was doing volunteer work for spreading positiveness & spirituality every week for couple of hours, where we get together & talk about our great history, share food, tell stories of great characters etc.

Since last few year, as I started doing job, I regularly give away my clothes, shoes etc. to local community store so that it can help the one who need it.

Also whenever I see someone who earns money by performing on the street, I generously give money to them. (I promise, it's worth giving)

My Favourite site is "Stack Overflow"

3

Where I live there is a strong social expectation that those who don't get drafted into the army for whatever reason spend a year or two volunteering. I just finished my year of volunteer work doing tech support at a small local school that didn't really have anything in place prior to this. I rebuilt their website, taught a computer usage class, set them up to use the modern digital standardized testing system instead of paper where possible, and in general did tech support for whatever wasn't working to the best of my ability.
For "extra credit" i also paid weekly visits to an elderly gentleman who lives alone, and sat and talked (and helped with his computer). Even having officially finished i still visit him, including today.

My favorite sites are Stack Overflow and Mi Yodeya.

3

Sweat donation ahoy!

My family has a tradition of volunteering to help our local Food Bank. We don't donate ourselves, but we organize, deliver flyers, and collect and sort food so all the Food Bank has to do is pick it up and deliver it to the people who need it. We've been helping with this for about 8 years in a row now.

We had a big weekend event where we managed to collect 500,000 lbs of food in a single day (not all my family, it was a province-wide event) by delivering flyers to peoples doors and picking up any donated food the following day. Needless to say, it's great to give time for a good cause, and even better when you hit ginormous numbers like that.

3

Time is something I have plenty of so I work with what I know, writing software for charities which are normally taken for a ride by vendors.

http://www.deafchildren.org.nz is the latest work for a deaf children in New Zealand. All work and hosting is done without charge.

3

I donated a new scarf, new pair of socks, and bags of like new clothes to a local shelter.

3

My wife and I support a local non-profit that provides single parents, low-income families, and pregnant mothers with resources needed for healthy pregnancies and caring for newborns. This includes educational material, counseling, and physical resources. We went through a bunch of our kids' baby clothes and donated a box of clothing items to the organization.

3

We do our usual end of year donation and angel cycle. The things that we do as a family:

  1. Go through all of our books, and any that we no longer read actively (Especially the kids books), we donate to a local lending library for homeless.
  2. Go through closets, and any clothing or other items that we no longer wear are collected and donated.
  3. Christmas Angel - Salvation Army - As a family, we go and we pick out 1 card tag for each of the kids, and one as a family, and purchase the gifts requested on the tags. If our coworkers participate, we also get tags to match the dollar amount that they donate, and purchase those gifts as well. This year was 5 tags.
  4. As part of our martial arts school, we participate in various clothing drives and once a quarter "Feed my starving children" food packing events.

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