Using your recycled bags earns money for non profits

Does your small change actually make a difference? Of course it does!

This isn’t the first time I have posed this question on the blog, but I get more and more clear that sometimes we feel we have to do major mitzvahs for things to count or add up in any significant way.

This weekend, my daughter and I spent some time shopping for costumes and other items she needed. We were in one consignment store where the store gives back a nickel to one of four charities (we got to choose) every time a customer provides their own shopping bag. I know that Whole Foods also does this but I haven’t really seen it done else where. Of course, I had to take pictures of the coin canisters and ask how much this project earns for them (much to my daughter’s chagrin). The employee told me that one month they collected $100 to donate to one of the charities.  That means that 2,000 people carried their own bags into the store that month. Perhaps $100 doesn’t seem like a lot but it certainly is when you realize it was collected  a nickel at a time. In addition,  all those customers were also using recyclable bags (one of my favorite earth mitzvah).

Two mitzvah ideas for this week. The first to  pay attention to the coin canisters at the supermarkets, pharmacies or where ever they show up  and throw in some change. Second, get yourself a recyclable shopping bag and start carrying it beyond the supermarket. Check out Chicobags if you want one that is simple and easy and fits into your purse or pocket. I happen to love these.

I am heading to San Francisco this week, so if you have friends of family in the area, invite them to join me at one of the following events. I’ll also be on Sacramento and Company, Thursday morning. I’ll post the link next week! Here is the pertinent information:

Wednesday, October 26th, at 7:30pm
Oshman Family JCC
3921 Fabian Way
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Thursday, October 27th, at 6:30pm
Afikomen Judaica
3042 Claremont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705
Friday, October 28th, at 12:30pm
JCC East Bay- Berkeley Branch
1414 Walnut Street
Berkeley, CA 94709

A mitzvah received at the grocery store

Last Friday, I stopped at the market on my way to school for the teacher appreciation luncheon. I was late and was rushing to get my allotment to donate. I had offered to bring drinks, cups and ice. I rushed through the store grabbing what I needed and returned to my car to get to school as fast as possible. When I was putting my groceries on the front seat of my car a gentleman, walked by and casually asked, “Are those bags yours?” I didn’t know what he was referring to, but I walked around to the back of the car with him and saw several of my recycled bags had fallen to the ground underneath my car, including several reusable mesh vegetable bags I had just purchased the week before. “Yes, thank you so much.” I replied. I couldn’t believe how grateful I felt at this simple act of kindness.


Sometimes people forget that, it is often the simple acts that really help another person. In my haste, I am sure that I would have driven away from my bags on the ground and never realized where they went. The feeling of gratitude lasted for several hours and even the next week when I used those mesh vegetable bags at the grocery store and remembered the man who’d returned them to me.

Each and everyday you can be the person who helps another. Pay attention to the little things around you and perhaps you can be like the man at the grocery store.