Did you know that as of October 2010, there were over 35,000 people–including over 8,000 families and over 14,000 children–in New York City shelters? That is a staggering number and it makes me want to help, if even in a small way…

The Partnership for the Homeless is a NYC charity committed to building a just and equitable society and creating lasting community change through solution-oriented programs and policy initiatives that eliminate the root causes of homelessness. They provide all sorts of services and support for the homeless in NYC and they would greatly appreciate a donation of hats, scarves, and gloves/mittens this winter.

That is where the fantastic Swap-bot community comes in! Let’s put together a huge donation of warm weather gear for The Partnership!!

And here is the extra-special holiday bonus reward for your donation: Each Swap-bot member who mails me a donation of one winter item will get one low (1 or 3) rating removed from their account!! You must mail your donation to Swap-bot headquarters (address below) by January 10th. If you do not have a poor rating on your account, you will get a credit for one future rating removal. Each person can only get one rating removed during this donation drive – although you are welcome to donate more than one item! We have discussed doing a rating removal program like this in the past and now seems like a great time to try it out. The plan is to make this an annual program, so that in theory, each member could get one rating removed each year by donating to the chosen charity.

The Partnership for the Homeless needs hats, gloves, and scarves for all ages, from infants to adults, and they accept both new handmade and new store bought items. Send your donation to:

**Rachel Johnson


285 5th Ave PMB 415

Brooklyn, NY 11215**

All donations must be received by January 10th, 2011. As soon as I receive your donation, I will contact you about which rating you would like removed from your account. Be sure to include your username and email address with your donation. I will be delivering our donations to The Partnership for the Homeless office on January 17th.

Let me know if you have any questions…. Let’s put together a huge donation from Swap-bot!!

UPDATE: All ratings removed in exchange for a hat, scarf, or glove donation will need to be six months old at the time of removal. That will make it more difficult for future low ratings to be removed through this system, and will give swappers plenty of time to work out situations with their partners. (That being said, I am willing to look at unique situations that may warrant a quicker rating forgiveness – especially for those who have already donated before this change was announced.)

I am sure that there may be a few scenarios in which swappers could still take advantage of this opportunity, but I think that the six month waiting period will discourage nearly everyone from simply choosing not to send a swap. And hopefully, even with the waiting period this rating forgiveness/donation option will help some people escape an unfair low rating that has been hanging around tarnishing their record while helping NYC homeless at the same time.