Don Heinzman column: Spring cleaning to help others in need

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Don Heinzman

Don Heinzman

Spring is the season when we all go through our homes and garages to look for “stuff” to place on our curbs for the haulers to pick up.

Among that “stuff” are items needy families can use – furniture and household goods.

Don’t put those desks, chairs, lamps and tables on your curb for someone to steal or to be ruined by rain. Take them to nonprofit agencies that specialize in receiving donations that either give those items to needy families in your communities or sell them in thrift stores to benefit people in need.

Think for a moment of Samjuanita, who was about to have surgery for her cancerous knee. She found Bridging in Roseville and said: “I am so grateful to have a chair to sit in while I recover. I would have been sitting on the floor if it weren’t for Bridging’s help.”

Those who want to donate need to understand what gently used furniture and household items these agencies will accept. Go to their websites, where they often list what is accepted. You will find you can take many of these items in your car to the sites.

A well-known Twin Cities nonprofit that accepts donations is Sharing and Caring Hands in Minneapolis.

Still another is Arc’s Value Village Thrift Stores, whose proceeds are used to help people with disabilities. They have locations in Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, New Hope and Richfield. These stores will take donated boats, RVs, motorcycles and other vehicles.

You can help in other ways: Donate money, start your own drive and volunteer.

Fran Heitzman, 91, founded Bridging in 1987 and over those years 75,000 families have been helped. Bridging is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with warehouses in Bloomington and Roseville.

Heitzman gets tears in his eyes when he reads letters from people Bridging has helped, like the one from a mother who wrote, “I am so proud of my two simple beds and pillows after sleeping in a shelter for 18 months.”

Following is a partial list of agencies that accept household goods and furniture that are processed and given to needy families. More information is listed on their websites.

Sharing and Caring Hands – 525 N. Seventh St., Minneapolis. Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Online at

Bridging – 201 W. 87th St., Bloomington, and 1633 Terrace Drive (moving to 1730 Terrace Drive as of April 25), Roseville. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Online at

Arc’s Value Village Thrift Stores – 10546 France Ave., Bloomington; 6330 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Center; 2751 Winnetka Ave. N., New Hope; 6528 Penn Ave. S., Richfield; and 1650 White Bear Ave., St. Paul. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Online at

Salvation Army Thrift stores – in the Twin Cities area, Bloomington, Burnsville, Elk River, Fridley, Hastings, Minneapolis and Maplewood. Greater Minnesota locations, from Hibbing to Albert Lea, Fergus Falls to Winona. Online at

Savers and Unique thrift stores – in the Twin Cities area, Apple Valley, Bloomington, Burnsville, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Minneapolis, New Hope, St. Paul and Woodbury. Online at

Love, Inc. – 1600 Bavaria Road, Chaska. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This is an organization involving 25 churches in Eastern Carver County. Online at


Don Heinzman is a columnist for ECM Publishers.


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