FAQ for Donating


Frequently Asked Questions

When are you open?

May - October

Mon - Fri: 9 AM - 7 PM

Sat: 9 AM - 6 PM

Sun: 12 - 5 PM

Nov - April

Mon - Sat: 9 AM - 6 PM

Sun: 12 - 5 PM

Where and how can I make a donation?

We accept donations during store hours at 247 Factory Street, Watertown by pulling around back to our donation center. Our staff and volunteers will help unload your donation and if you need a receipt, just ask and they will sign a form indicating that we did indeed receive your donation. Store hours are, in May through October, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. From November through April, weekday hours are shortened to 6 p.m.

There are also offsite donation bins located at St. James Catholic Church in Carthage (327 West Street), and St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Sackets Harbor (corner of Woolsey and East Main Streets). 

If you can bring your donation in a clear plastic bag or open containers, it makes life easier for our sorters.

For clothing, if you know that what you are donating is stained or ripped, put an “X” on the bag and it will save our staff and volunteers sorting clothing the hassle of going through these clothes. They will go straight to recycling. Please do not put anything else in bags with clothing, especially not glass items.

Did I read that correctly? You want clothing, even if it’s damaged?

Yes. As long as the clothing is dry and odorless, it can be recycled. Your Mission has a great partnership with the Rescue Mission in Syracuse to recycle clothing, helping our neighbor organization and providing additional revenue for your Mission’s programs. It’s a win-win. Plus it’s good for the environment. Every year, 85 percent of unwanted clothes are thrown away, rather than donated, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s about 1.4 billion tons of clothing. You can keep our landfills from filling up, help your neighbors in need and save yourself on your trash bill just by donating your clothing here!

What can I donate?

Great donations include:

All dry, cloth, clothing, and shoes (even if it's got a rip, tear or stain)!

Couches, tables, chairs, dressers and other furniture

Most small sporting goods

Books, movies, and bookcases

Working electronics

Small household appliances

Kitchen supplies

Knick Knacks

Scrap metal and wire

Pretty much anything you don’t need anymore, but which will be useful to someone else.

Is there anything you do not take?

Unfortunately, yes.  We cannot take CRT or tube televisions as they are too costly for us to dispose and flat screen technology is now more than 10 years old, making it the only technology easily sold in the store.  Similarly, large fitness equipment, such as workout stations, stationary bicycles and treadmills, as there is little demand for these in our thrift store. We will happily accept weight sets to recycle for their scrap value, if you drop them off to us. We also cannot take large appliances such as stoves, refrigerators to sell, but we can help you get them recycled!  Due to government regulations, we regretfully cannot take cribs and car seats.

Other than that, we just kindly request that donations not include broken electrical appliances, outdated computers, broken or incomplete toys and games, cracked or broken dishes and glass.   Old, gently worn, even outdated—or vintage—items can be sold easily, but when we receive items that are not sellable because they are damaged when they come to us, it costs us money to throw them away, so thank you for your consideration.

How should I organize my donations?

Bringing your donation in a clear plastic bag or in open containers is the best practice.

For clothing, if you know that what your donating is stained or ripped, put an “X” on the bag and it will save our staff and volunteers sorting clothing the hassle of going through these clothes. They will go straight to recycling. Please do not put anything else in bags with clothing, especially not glass items.

Do you pick up items?

Absolutely! We will gladly schedule a pick up for your furniture donations (and other items you may want to send along with it).  Our truck has scheduled routes throughout Jefferson County, so if you cannot transport your items, just give us a call at (315) 782-0090 and we will do all that we can to make sure your items find a new home.

How and what can I donate to the Food Pantry?

You can stop in to the reception desk any time during business hours (M-F 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. in July & August) and we’ll be glad to accept your donations. It’s that simple. If you don’t mind, we’d love to get your contact information for our records, which in some cases will be used to send a formal thank you letter, but that should only take a moment or two to finish. We’re extremely grateful for every donation because your generosity helps us to serve about 500 households through our Food Pantry each month.

We accept just about everything—even fresh fruits and vegetables from your garden or farm. Of course, we also accept canned vegetables, fruits and beans, canned soup, stew and chili, canned meats and tuna, juice, jam, jelly and peanut butter, just to name a few. We also accept personal items such as deodorant, shampoo, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and cleaning supplies, for distribution through our Critical Needs Program.

Helpful tip: Expiration dates do not mean food has gone bad. Sometimes the food can be eaten well after it is expired for sale, but the standards vary. You can call us if you have any questions and save yourself a trip so that your generosity does not end up being a higher trash bill for us.

What if I can’t make it before 4:30, or 4 p.m. in the Summer, or can only donate on the weekend?

You can make donations in the evening or on weekends at the Impossible Dream Thrift Store! You might also be able to just drop off nonperishable foods at your church. Check with your church offices.

Are my donations tax deductable?

Yes, they are. Donations of all kinds, be it money or items, are tax deductable because the Watertown Urban Mission is a nonprofit 501 (c) 3. If it’s a financial contribution, we’ll send you a thank you letter with the information you need. If it’s a donation to the store and you require it, please ask one of our employees to help you fill out a handy form.