Best Recycling Service 2001 | The Stuff Exchange | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
When your stuff is too old to use but too good to trash, call the Stuff Exchange. The volunteers manning the hotline and Web site will see that your gently used items get a good home, either with a school, nonprofit organization or individual in need. If you're with one of those good causes that needs old computers, furniture or business equipment, check the Exchange to see what's available; if you have stuff to pass on for posterity, e-mail your listing to the Web site.
Do you really think that old 386 in the basement is good for anything other than a boat anchor? Compute again, Intel-head, then contact Computers for Community. This nonprofit collects, refurbishes and distributes used computers to schools and nonprofits in the metro area. And they'll accept any computer equipment, working or not. But a $1 donation is requested for each monitor to cover the cost of recycling all those nasty components inside.

Admit it: You have a thing for cops. You've memorized every episode of CHiPs and frequently fantasize that you're cruising alongside Erik Estrada on your motorcycle. For real vroom service, accelerate over to an old house at the corner of First and Wadsworth in Lakewood, where the Colorado State Patrol Specialty Store is open for business five days a week. Outfit yourself in such CSP-logo wear as jackets, baseball caps, sweats and polo shirts. Arm yourself with the kind of pens, pencils and flashlights the real troopers use. And it would be a crime to forget the kiddies: Future juvenile delinquents will love the shop's stuffed animals and T-shirts.
All salvage, all the time, donated by builders and contractors who would rather give it away than dump it in a landfill. By reclaiming used building materials and selling them to consumers at bargain prices -- $70 for a picture window, for example -- Resource 2000 aims to reduce the amount of construction waste winding up in landfills. Overseen by the Boulder Energy Conservation Center, the program generated nearly a quarter-million dollars in revenue in 1999. That's a lot of roofing shingles.

You pays your money, you takes your choice. And with the size of the newest Goodwill store -- a robust 11,300 square feet -- you have to be alert to the good things Goodwill will sometimes have coming and going. Skis? Sure. Snowboards? Once in a while. The best way to check it out is to check it out. While the economy was booming (remember that?), donations were up. However, the recent downturn has also been good for business, with buyers pushing profits from donated items over $20 million, organizers say. That's enough to fund programs for more than 6,000 disabled and disadvantaged people annually, mostly through job-training and support services. All while giving a few of those snowboards, skis -- and maybe some faded Levi's -- new lives with new owners.

Since 1982, Lenore Stoddard and her band of loyal volunteers have staffed this fundraising venture for Children's Hospital. And what funds they've raised! La Cache has generated more than $1 million for the hospital to date, even while giving consignors two-thirds of the purchase price. Shoppers will find a treasure trove of high-quality and rare sterling, china, jewelry, linens and antique furniture; look in the Blue Light room for incredible bargains. And don't be surprised to find curators sniffing around: This Cache has cachet.

Not long ago, there was a mink coat on sale at the Treasure Trunk. Although it was priced to move at $65, some shrewd -- but not necessarily PC -- fashion-hound snapped it up on a half-price day. Clean and well-organized, both the big, new shop on Colfax and the original in Wheat Ridge benefit Family Tree shelters, programs for victims of domestic violence, and the homeless. Donations can be made at any time; while you're there, you can think mink and look around for down.
When an organization runs dozens of programs and ministries that do everything from counseling unwed pregnant women to running a crisis shelter, it needs to dig deeper than just the collection plate, even if the 4,000-member flock is generous. That's why Riverside Baptist Church has been blessed with abundance at its heavenly gift shop. Riverside sets out its offerings inside the main entrance: You can't get to the pews without going through the gift shop. From Bibles to breath mints, it's all right there. Say "Amen" and offer it up!

Taking kids to the Shop Skip and a Jump store at the Children's Museum is like taking a group of chocoholics to the Hershey factory. You'll find some of the hippest gear for both learning and playing here: dinos, twirlers, books, games and other gizmos, all at your (sticky) fingertips. Cash proceeds benefit the museum, and the creative stuff benefits the tykes.

Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight? There are times when we hunger to dig into a big hunk of beast, be it beef or buffalo, grilled a perfect medium rare. But just as often, we have a hankering to see the critter put to another use -- as a great Western belt, bag or jacket. Preferably one about to be purchased by us. At the Denver Buffalo Company, you can satisfy both desires. Just beyond the swanky dining room that serves buffalo (and non-bison items) in a number of delicious forms, stands the Trading Post, which sells buffalo hide in a number of forms. But leather goods aren't the only excellent Western items offered here. You'll find jewelry and jerky, nightlights and nightshirts, art and artifacts. And where else in town can you pick up a totem pole at 9 p.m. while your companion pays off the dinner check?

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