Often what we call generosity is little more than dressed up materialism: "If I clean out my closets and donate the old clothes, then I can get more new stuff for ME."
While there's nothing wrong with donating old items to charity (and if the items are usable, it's a much better option than throwing them away), consider your motives when giving.
If a wishlist for a homeless shelter includes a coffee maker, and yours works perfectly well, keep yours and donate a brand new one.
Dignity is not just affirmed through words, but also through actions. Donating new items shows people that you believe they are worth spending money on and that they are worthy of having nice things.
When people feel worthy, their lives begin to change.
Originally published March 2015