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Donate Leftover Event Materials to Support the Local Community

By: Julia Spangler | Feb 28, 2019

When people think about reducing the amount of waste an event sends to the landfill, their minds often default to recycling as the main option.

However, donating leftover event materials is another way to significantly reduce event waste, with the added bonus of supporting the local community.

Here are four types of non-profit organizations that may benefit from receiving leftover supplies from your event:

1. Food rescue organizations

Food rescue organizations include food banks, soup kitchens, missions, shelters, and any other organization that recovers food for the purpose of feeding the community.

Every organization has different guidelines for what they accept, as well as their own process for how they receive donations, so it’s important to contact them well in advance of your event to make arrangements.

In Indianapolis, one notable food rescue organization is Second Helpings, which has a three-fold mission of feeding the community, reducing food waste, and providing culinary job training. They have a well-established process for accepting surplus food from events.

2. Schools & teacher organizations

Schools are an obvious recipient of event supplies that teachers may be able to use for projects in their classrooms. However, if you don’t have a connection to a specific school, or if your local school isn’t in need of supplies, consider donating to an organization that serves a wider population of teachers.

The Kids in Need Foundation is a national network of resource centers focused on providing supplies for teachers. Our local member in Indianapolis is Teachers’ Treasures, which operates a free “store” where teachers can procure supplies at no cost.

3. Theater programs

It can be challenging to find a recipient of larger event supplies like exhibit booths and decor installations. If you’re not able to reuse certain large items after your event, reach out to high school drama clubs and community theaters to see if they’re interested in receiving these materials to incorporate into set designs and backdrops.

4. Hospitals & senior centers

If you have leftover floral arrangements from your event, donate them to bring joy to local hospitals, senior centers, or assisted living facilities. Connect with these organizations directly with a simple Google search, or work with a non-profit such as Random Acts of Flowers, which remixes donated florals into arrangements for individuals in health care facilities nationwide.

By forming partnerships with non-profits, you can reduce waste from your event beyond just recycling, as well as support the health and well-being of your community.

No time to coordinate with community partners? I’ll handle the arrangements for donation of food, florals and/or supplies from your next event.




Julia Spangler
Julia Spangler
Sustainable Events Consultant

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