For Cy DeBoer, philanthropy looks like a green 72-quart plastic storage container.
But instead of storing seasonal décor, her tub waits on the porch of her Castle Pines home for donations of diapers, shelf-stable food, paper towels and other basics for families with critically ill children.
She is the founder of the nonprofit Bin Blessed, which gives its donations to There With Care, a Boulder-based foundation that helps the families of children with serious illnesses. “We don’t take any money. It’s all goods and services and gift cards,” DeBoer says. “If someone leaves a package of diapers, those diapers will be on a baby in less than two weeks.”
DeBoer put out her first Bin Blessed tub when she was living in Littleton and involved with The Gathering Place, a day shelter for transgender individuals, women and children experiencing poverty. People who knew about her work there often asked what they could do, and she thought in-kind donations might appeal to people too busy to volunteer. So, she passed out flyers listing shelter-goers’ needs and where her neighbors could drop off the provisions. Almost immediately, her tub started filling with household supplies. People began asking about hosting tubs at their own homes.
Word spread, and in 2015, after the DeBoers had moved to Texas and then back here to Castle Pines, green Bin Blessed containers began appearing on front porches in Castle Pines North, Castle Pines Village, Castle Rock, Glenmoor, Lone Tree, Denver, Boulder, Stapleton, the Highlands, Littleton and Parker.
Once a month, their contents are collected by women—golf partners, Bunco buddies, Bible study group members—known as Bin Babes. Besides collecting basic supplies for There With Care’s offices in Denver and Boulder, they assemble themed monthly surprise bags or backpacks for families in need, filled with gifts and treats that the Bin Babes personally provide. DeBoer estimates Bin Blessed has donated roughly $500,000 in goods and services over the past five years.
“We think of the siblings and parents as well as the critically ill children because their lives are turned upside down, too,” DeBoer says.
“Bin Blessed has touched almost every family we serve in one way or another,” says Mellenie Goebel, Denver development director of There With Care. Goebel approximates that the organization provides at least 50 special bags or backpacks a month to families, rotating between 160 recipients. (Hospital support coordinators and social workers identify the families who most need the extra TLC.)
She continues: “They’ve helped collect coats during November, and put together backpacks for school-aged kiddos. They really add a level of compassionate care. Families in medical crises need normalcy added to their lives, and the Bin Babes have a deep impact.”
WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
Contact DeBoer at email@example.com or visit binblessed.com.
BIN BLESSED’S BASIC NEEDS LIST INCLUDES:
❍ jars of peanut butter
❍ jars of jelly and jam
❍ boxed cereal
❍ macaroni and cheese
❍ sweet and salty snacks
(like granola bars, popcorn, crackers, pudding cups and other lunch box treats)
(including very small sizes for prematurely born infants)
❍ baby wipes
BIN BLESSED ALSO ALWAYS NEEDS:
❍ new or gently used baby clothing
(“Something you would let your child or grandchild wear,” DeBoer says.)
❍ baby bath toys
❍ teething rings
❍ baby bath towels
❍ baby washcloths
❍ baby blankets
❍ bouncy seats
❍ portable playpens
❍ toilet paper
❍ paper towels
❍ puzzles and games
(for siblings to play at the hospital)
❍ gas cards
❍ supermarket gift cards