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Second-hand helps animals too

Feb 19, 2020 | Ideas

One of the best decisions of my life was joining Voluntarios Itinerantes. I’m a founding
member and volunteer since even before its constitution. After Juan, I’m the oldest volunteer.
I combine work, volunteering, etc. It’s not always easy and sometimes it’s difficult to keep up
with the younger volunteers physically. Each one of us gives value to the association according
to our talents, in addition to walking dogs at the shelter, attending fairs, food drives or any
other activity that we organize.
I’m a firm believer in reusing and recycling materials. I use the green points around the city, I
attend second-hand markets and I use apps for selling second-hand items. I’m pretty good at it
and this is what I also offer to Voluntarios Itinerantes.
We started around two years ago selling items to benefit shelter animals: things that were just
sitting around in storage units. Then, we started to receive donations from people (adoptive
families and other volunteers) and, with the money raised, we were able to invest in necessary
items for the shelters where we collaborate. We manage this activity with a clear and
transparent control of what was sold and how the profits were used.
It can be time consuming as I sometimes have to wash and disinfect the second-hand items
(dog coats, for example) before being able to sell them. You have to be patient, spend time
comparing prices, see if there a high demand for similar items, how long it’s been listed for
sale and at what price, create ads, update them periodically and answers messages as quickly
as possible. Timing is everything. I also have to agree on a meeting time with the buyer, which
means that sometimes they don’t show up or they reschedule multiple times before you
actually meet. I don’t mind taking the bus or metro to pick up items or sell them, even if it’s
just to make €3-5. I also mail items all over Spain, which involves packing them up and making
a trip to the post office. Some weeks are better than others, but in the span of two years we’ve
sold dozens of items and made over €2,000 which brings me great satisfaction and
compensates all my efforts.
When I explain the idea behind Voluntarios Itinerantes and how the money will be used, I feel
very proud and people support our cause and tell me about their adopted dogs or cats and
where they’ve collaborated as volunteers. In fact, some people have contacted me again if
they’re interested in an item listed on my profile because they prefer to buy it from me as they
know they’re getting exactly what’s described and they’re also helping animals. It’s a beautiful
cycle: recycle, reuse, buy ethically, save money, and contribute to a good cause. There’s
nothing better.
Before throwing something away, think about giving it a second opportunity. Second
opportunities are not just for people and animals.

If you have something you’d like to donate for us to sell, you can contact me at: wallavi21@gmail.com. Send me pictures and we’ll agree on where to pick up the items and I
can answer any questions you have about this project.

Elisabeth Kossmann