The newspaper business may be in dire straits but I’m still one of those people with a daily subscription. I like to hold the newspaper, flip through it and re-read certain sections. And when I go away, I share this now old-fashioned habit with people I don’t even know.
In Israel, you don’t just freeze your subscription when you head off on vacation. Instead, you can donate it.
The newspaper companies have a list of charities, hospitals, old-age homes, facilities for youth-at-risk, rehabilitation centers and homes for the disabled just waiting to accept your newspaper for the days you’re away.
Anyone who has spent time in any one of the places listed above knows that having something current to read to pass the time is a godsend.
As such, my to-do checklist before I go away always includes donating my subscription.
I found out about this initiative about 10 years back when I called to freeze my payment. Until then I had only given away old, out-of-date magazines to libraries, hospitals and schools.
The customer service agent told me about this program. Though I remember doubting the idea at first – I assumed it was too good to be true and that somehow I was going to be charged double – I agreed just the same.
Instead of delivering the newspaper to my address it goes to someone available to read it. It’s a win-win situation – the newspaper keeps its readership up and the person going away gets that fuzzy warm feeling of doing something for the good.
Although I do not travel all that often, when I do go away, I always call to offer up my newspaper. And every time the agent thanks me profusely (even if he is reading a pre-written blurb) and notes that it’s not something everyone does.
Which – in my mind – can only mean that people just don’t know about this project. Who wouldn’t want to give away a newspaper they’re not going to read anyway?
As for those who aren’t going away but still want to recycle their newspapers and magazines: Schools and kindergartens love old magazines for art projects, and animal shelters will almost never turn down old newsprint.