For the last 2 years, we helped participate in the Project Healing Waters (PHWFF) Gear Drives, gathering gently used gear to be recycled for the great purpose of getting our Military Veterans involved in fly fishing and out on the water. I have to admit the first year was a huge success, honestly better than expected. However last year, we collected less than half than the first year.
Regardless of the numbers, I do think those two years helped spread the word that your used gear (which most of us have), can really make a difference and be put to great use. Several folks have begun sending and bringing into shops their gear to donate, not just during the couple months we were promoting our PHWFF Gear Drives, but throughout the year. A few things have dawned on me; 1. An “annual” event loses its luster pretty quickly, 2. For most, it’s not feasible to have used gear to give every year, 3. When you are cleaning out your closet and it’s not during the months of the Gear Drive’s, the last thing you want to do is hold onto something waiting to donate.
That being said, we are foregoing the “annual” gear drive, for a different approach. All Year Gear Drive. If you are considering a new purchase, first off; consider making it from a local fly shop, secondly, ask them if they may give you a small discount if you were to donate your gently used old gear to Project Healing Waters. I know several local shops in my area do so, and it doesn’t hurt to ask. And if you are Spring cleaning, you don’t have hold onto the gear until the end of the year. Contact your local Project Healing Waters chapter (if you can’t find out who that is, email me), or ask your local shop if they work with Project Healing Waters, and bring it in to them.
We just recently participated in a Project Healing Waters Outing at Unicoi Outfitters in Helen, GA, and it was my first opportunity to see your gear that has been donated put to use. Matt and I spent the day capturing some moments for some very special folks who surely won’t forget this perfect Fall day.
Thank you goes to; Project Healing Waters for inviting us, Unicoi Outfitters for hosting this event, all of those who have donated gear over the years and to all the Veterans for your service!