When an entrepreneur in the Philadelphia area started taking note of charitable donation bins in darkly-lit, abandoned former gas stations and convenience stores, he wanted to make them into locations that would benefit donors, the charities, and surrounding communities alike. That idea, which took shape as GreenDrop, has now expanded into New Jersey.

The new GreenDrop location in Springfield (Photo credit: GreenDrop)

The group "recycles" these rundown properties and converts them into safe, bright, drive-up locations where residents can come to drop off lightly-used household items and clothing. A new location in Springfield opened July 1, joining other Garden State collection areas in Metuchen and Cherry Hill.

"We service anyone who wants to come, but we see people in that area coming from three to five miles out of that town," said Jason Coss, GreenDrop general manager, about the Springfield site.

Donors receive a tax-deductible receipt to one of four charities GreenDrop is currently partnering with: the American Red Cross, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Philadelphia.

"GreenDrop's mission is to make charitable giving of donated goods as easy, convenient, and friendly as possible," Coss said, adding that the response to the Springfield location and others has been overwhelmingly positive. "I've gotten direct feedback saying, 'Wow, we're really happy that someone has done something with this building. It's been an eyesore.'"

Coss said the company is looking at other feasible communities in New Jersey, but nothing is on the horizon right now. He said GreenDrop will "definitely" continue the current partnerships with its quartet of charities at all of its 27 facilities, including the three in the Garden State.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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