FIRST WEDNESDAY CLUB: 4 simple ways you can make a difference



We’re doing something different with this month’s First Wednesday Club being the crazy kids that we are at Mamamia.  Usually we nominate a charity and ask all of you to donate $10 to it.  But this month, we wanted to show you that you can change someone’s life and it doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Or even take you much time. You can make a difference to someone else’s life all from the comfort of your loungeroom. Here’s how …

1. Give the gift of sight: Donate your old glasses

Bec says her first pair of glasses came in the mid 1980s. They were big. They were “electric blue”.  And she claims they made her look like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl.  (They didn’t. We’ve seen the photos. They actually made her look like Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie.)

Three out of every five Australians wears glasses. If you’re one of them (and you’re anything like Bec) you probably have a few pairs of old glasses sitting around in a bottom drawer.

So, here’s an idea: donate them.  OneSight is a global eyewear charity that “recycles” donated glasses from stores like OPSM.  For a person in a developing country or in a remote, disadvantaged part of Australia, being fitted with a pair of glasses at a free clinic could change their life forever.

So when you stumble on that old pair of glasses, pop them in your bag and next time you pass an OPSM store, drop them in at the counter.  Such a simple act will change someone’s life. Click here for more information.



2. Dress for Success: Put the clothes you no longer wear to work

Today you can start to help another woman get her life back on track.  And all you have to do is go through your wardrobe. Easy peasy.

Dress For Success  provides a free, specialised dressing, grooming and interview skills program for long-term unemployed women. They give the gift of economic independence to disadvantaged women by providing them with professional work clothes, a network of support and the career development tools to help them thrive in work and life.

So why not go through your wardrobe to see if you have any work clothes you can donate?  Dress For Success welcomes all good quality secondhand work clothing including work-appropriate shoes, handbags and unused lipsticks for women of all ages.

You can find the Dress for Success Brisbane office here, the Melbourne office here and the Sydney office here.  If you live outside of these areas, the Salvation Army will always gladly receive work attire for their clients. Call 13 SALVOS or click here for more information.


3. Sign up to Givit

Your piano is staring at you. Or maybe it’s your old mower. A printer. Guitar. Gardening tools.  Whatever it is, it’s taking up space in your house, unused and unwanted but … you can’t bring yourself to just throw it out. Right?  Well, baby have we got the answer for you.


This innovative website was set up last year by Brisbane woman Juliette Wright.  It’s like a national  matchmaking service for donated items. Charities get in touch with Juliette to tell them what they need and Juliette lists the items on her site in the hope that some good person will respond.

So go online and register to receive the weekly Givit list. There’s usually a long list of items that are needed from computers to desks to freezers to gardening equipment to running shoes. One week you’ll read that Juliette is looking for a filing cabinet and – hello? – you happen to have a filing cabinet taking up space in your garage.  Talk about a perfect match.

Visit and sign up for the weekly newsletter.


4. Put those hotel shampoos to use …

Forget the blue bubble snow dome of Rome and the classic “I got wrecked on Great Keppel” stubby holder.  When it comes to holiday souvenirs Lucy appears to have the world’s largest collection of complimentary hotel shampoo bottles.  The stupid thing is she says she rarely uses them.  They tend to sit in her toiletries bag ready for when she goes away … to another hotel where she can pilfer more shampoo and bath gel bottles. (Don’t judge her. Too late?)

This week we discovered the perfect way to put her addiction to good use. Homeless shelters. Homeless shelters are always desperate for the bare essentials – shampoo, soaps, toothbrushes, deodorants. That kind of thing. And I’ve been told those little hotel shampoo bottles are the perfect donation item. So that’s where Lucy’s stash is going from now on. Homeless shelters and emergency accommodation are provided by a range of organisations across the country including St Vincent de Paul, Mission Australia and Spiritus.


Have you got any other suggestions about small ways you can make a difference?


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