Many charities appreciate cash during this season of giving, but here is a list of some great organizations that could really use your gear if it's in good condition. (And you really need to get rid of that clutter, for pete's sake.) We realize the list isn't comprehensive and that there are many other worthy charities out there. But the point is that your used gear is more than the sum of its parts. It could house a homeless person on a cold night, help someone see better, help protect a struggling ecosystem, or change a child's perspective about the world and the outdoors. So use this list to get yourself started. And a stern warning: These charities are not places to dump junk! If you wouldn't give it to a friend, think twice.
If your neighborhood school or dry cleaner is not holding a coat drive (shame on them), One Warm Coat accepts clean, used coats in good condition and gives them to needy kids and families. onewarmcoat.com.
The Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Montana needs used sporting equipment (particularly skates) for kids who otherwise can't afford to participate in the organization's outdoor trips, events, and other activities like their recent overnight ski trip for kids from the Rocky Boy's reservation. Visit bgcswmt.org or call 406-587-8442.
The Bozeman City Recreation Department accepts good used gear for its youth programs. They particularly need hiking and camping equipment and ice skates. Remember, kid-sized. 406-582-2300.
The Big Sky Youth Empowerment Project accepts used skis, snowboards, snowshoes, fly rods, dry bags, rain gear, packs, poles, snowshoes, gaiters, headlamps, and other outdoor gear. The gear goes to programs that help disadvantaged teens learn about themselves and gain confidence through a variety of outdoor experiences. byep.org.
Eagle Mount of Bozeman needs lightly used beginning skier gear and short shaped skis, ideally with demo bindings. They also need helmets, mittens, down vests, handheld radios, batteries, fishing tackle, a double-burner camp stove, Peacock safety stirrups, a lead line saddle, double-bladed skates, and socks. Eagle Mount provides therapeutic recreational opportunities for people with disabilities, young people with cancer, and the families of participants. Call 406-586-1781 or visit eaglemount.org.
The Bridger Ski Foundation accepts used winter sports equipment in good condition to sell at its annual ski swap, which raises funds for its youth ski programs. Although skis and snowboards are the focus of the annual swap, coats, bibs, boots, poles, skates, goggles, gloves, and hockey equipment are also welcome. bridgerskifoundation.com.