Giving back to Jamaica with a book or toy drive is commendable. We often get inquiries from Jamaicans and people who love Jamaica about sending items back to the island. Many want to start their own non-profit organization to facilitate the donations. We often inform them of how difficult starting a non-profit in Jamaica is. There are mountains of paperwork, lots of red “tape” and it could take years. We typically tell people to work with an already established charity as it may be easier than trying to establish your own. Here are the steps we take when we do a book drives, toy drives, and other item donation drives if you are in the United States.
- Set up your committee or team within your organization to help with the drive.
- Identify the Place you will be donating to – whether it be a school, library or church. Notify them of what you are sending.
- Identify an established organization that can vet the destination organization for the donated items, ship the items and clear them at the docks. We typically ask them to send photos of the donation presentation. We have worked with Food for Poor on all our past projects. They have freight containers that go down weekly, they know the process to clear them in Jamaica and they know the paperwork to complete for donated items. These are the hugest hurdles that creating a charitable organization has to overcome. Having an established organization do this makes the process easier.
- Provide the contact at the place you are donating to with a contact for the parenting organization.
- Determine how long you will have the drive.
- Start to gather the items for the drive. For book drive and toy drives, we have used Amazon. We create a wishlist under our account and share it (website, email and social media). The shipping address for the wish list is the partnering organization, for us, that is Food for Poor
- Follow-up with the organization to determine when they receive the items
- Get Photos. Once the items have been received you can now travel to Jamaica for photo moments with the recipients and items. Access the needs for the next drive while you are in Jamaica.
- Finally, share the photos and results of your drive.
- Start preparing for the next drive by updating the Amazon wish list.
Photo source: 123rf