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Charities should cut back on mail 0

By Pete Fisher, Northumberland Today

PETE FISHER Northumberland Today
Forrest Rowden and his wife Cindy have collected "junk" mail over the last year and think money spent on letters could be better spent elsewhere.

PETE FISHER Northumberland Today Forrest Rowden and his wife Cindy have collected "junk" mail over the last year and think money spent on letters could be better spent elsewhere.

COBOURG - 

An experiment of collecting “junk” mail has yielded surprising results for a Cobourg couple.

Forrest and Cindy Rowden have collected in excess of 200 pieces of mail from charities and other organizations soliciting donations since Jan. 1.

They started with a shoebox, but the collection quickly escalated and grew from there.

“I just wanted to see how much we collected in a year,” said Cindy Rowden.

“You don’t realize that two or three envelopes a week, but when it comes to that many, I’m really shocked.”

The Rowdens say the vast majority are worthy causes, like the Toronto Humane Society, March of Dimes, Alzheimer Society, Cancer Society of Ontario, ALS Society, Children's Wish Society, Canadian Diabetes, Canadian Hearing Society, Canadian Mental Health Association, Parkinson Society of Canada, War Amps, Easter Seals among others.

Writing on the outside of the envelope from a charity called Smile Train charity stated, “you are cordially invited to save a child’s life.”

The Rowdens set aside $2,000 every year to donate to organizations.  Each year they donate $1,000 to the Cobourg Community Centre and the rest is split to various worthy charities, but they question how much administration costs are going toward sending out the letters to individuals.

“We donate to almost everyone of them, but then we’re getting one a week a later and another two weeks later from the same organization.”

“I kept recycling and recycling, so I decided to put my foot down in January,” said Forrest.

Until Saturday, the Rowdens hadn’t opened one piece of mail they’ve received over the year.

“I just think they overdue it,” said Forrest.

“Especially the cancer society.  I bet there are over three different pieces of mail from the cancer society and I’ve already donated three or four times this year to the cancer society, either at the funeral home, or at Relay for Life.”

“It’s so much waste.”

The envelopes also encourage donations through gifts in the envelopes, like Christmas cards from the Canadian Wildlife Federation, key chains, calendars and name tags.

“We have enough scratch pads to write ourselves notes for 20 years,” said Forrest.

The Rowdens both said, if each charity sent out one envelope per year to homes, it would be sufficient and would send a lot less paper to be recycled.

peter.fisher@sunmedia.

Twitter.com/NT_pfisher

 

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