There's a website I use frequently called Arlington Heights Free E-Recyclers, a spin off from Freecycle (don't ask me why it's not Freecycle, I don't really understand - or care - the reasons).
In case you're unfamiliar with the e-recycling or freecycling concept, the idea is that we all have things we need to get rid of, one man's trash is another man's treasure, and we want to stop filling landfills. Everything must be given for free with no strings attached. I have gotten rid of things I don't need or want (I still can't believe anyone wanted that tacky-ass light-up sea turtle yard ornament my cousin Alan gave me for Christmas one year) and I've also gotten some wonderful things including plants for my growing garden.
A few months ago, I received a $50 gift certificate to a very nice (and pricey) local restaurant that expires next week. I've been unable to use it and while I would love to dine at this restaurant, I just can't justify spending the money, even if I can save $50. The restaurant gave it to me as a thank you when I did an event at their restaurant in April or May, so it's not like anyone spent money on this certificate. Believe me, if anyone bought me a $50 gift certificate, I would have used it.
Just because I'm not going to use it doesn't mean it should go to waste, however.
So about 10:20 this morning I placed my gift certificate on Arlington Heights Free E-Recyclers. Ten minutes later, I had no fewer than 25 responses. By 11:00, the number had hit 50. And each one came with a sob story. Seriously. The stories were sad. It was heartbreaking to have to chose just one.
I really wish I could have helped everyone, but it was nice to have made one person's day just a little bit brighter.