Open Ltr: Before killing the Take-It-or-Leave-It, a little reseach into the charity you’ve chosen

April 8, 2014
by Maggie Christ

To Town Board members: 

When I reached for my kitchen sponge this morning to wash out a mug my daughter had once given my husband for Father’s Day, I plucked it out of the blue and white striped bowl that lives next to my sink. Both the bowl and the mug are treasures that we found at the town’s Take It or Leave It Shop – or, as I like to call it, the swap meet at the dump. And over the almost ten years that we’ve lived here, we’ve dropped off and picked up many other things, most memorably a plastic desk for our toddler which we returned to TOILI when she outgrew it.

I’ve just learned that the TIOLI is on the chopping block – that the town plans to close it, and to instead have Big Brothers Big Sisters operate the shed as a drop-off only spot. I think this is wrong, on many counts.

The TIOLI is a charming addition to our town, which is often perceived as materialistic. It is popular among the residents, and it serves to keep materials out of the waste stream. It helps to transfer goods from people who no longer need them, to those who do. Less material goes to landfills or incinerators. It’s a small thing that helps our community in many ways.

The arguments against the TIOLI are specious. First off, it’s always been billed as a volunteer-run shed, so arguing that the DPW workers want it closed is confusing. Besides, if a DPW worker didn’t want to fill potholes because it’s a smelly messy job, would that be countenanced? Of course not – it’s not up to the DPW workers to decide what parts of their job they’d like to do. It’s been said that the same out-of-towners are always picking stuff up – so what? And that volunteers are cherry-picking the good stuff – so what? Further, why would we care if anyone turns around and sells it on eBay? More power to them, I say.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters thing is troubling as well. First, if it’s only a drop-off location, why would anyone use it, given that it’s only open four hours a week? You can drop stuff off at Goodwill in Bedford Hills seven days a week. Second, Big Brothers Big Sisters is the subject of a “donor advisory” by Charity Navigator – because last June

The United States Department of Justice issued an Audit Report that stated it was freezing the disbursement of all grant funds to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA), noting that the organization was “in material non-compliance with the majority of the grant requirements” that were tested by the audit.  The audit also noted that “as a result of these weaknesses”, the agency “questioned $19,462,448 in funding that the grantee has received and recommended the $3,714,838 in funds not yet disbursed be put to better use”.  The audit further stated that “most significantly”, it “found that BBBSA’s practices for recording and supporting grant-related expenditures were inadequate to safeguard grant funds and ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the grants”.

  ~ from

It gives me pause to think that the town would even consider a relationship with BBBS, and I certainly wouldn’t donate anything to BBBS.

I hope that before you casually agree to terminate TIOLI, you will reconsider.


Maggie Christ

We encourage civil, civic discourse. All comments are reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.

I fully agree with Maggie Christ. The Take-It-or-Leave-It shop at the dump is great and offers an opportunity to put back in circulation items that have been outgrown or are no longer useful. They can find a new home with anyone who likes or needs them. This is recycling at its best, and fast, too. Cost: nothing.

By JMW on 04/08/2014 at 4:42 pm

BBBS Westchester operates as part of an umbrella organization – Family Services of Westchester. It also receives partial funding from Westchester County Youth Bureau. It is an affiliate of BBBS of America but operates as its own 503c charity. It has partnered with SAVERS- a for profit thrift outlet for the past three. SAVERS is similar to Goodwill that operates thrift stores throughout the region. SAVERS also partners with other charities. Its stores are stocked with donations from not- for- profit collections. SAVERS pays for all administrative costs of BBBS Westchester including their trucks. SAVERS pays BBBS a set rate per pound for all goods collected. The money raised in Westchester – STAYS in Westchester- last year $60,000 was donated to BBBS of Family Services of Westchester to run programs in Westchester for at risk youth in Westchester.   These programs include “ I believe I achieve”- a holistic approach to helping the child by helping the entire family – these programs take place at Manhattanville College and Mercy College. Other programs include a Latino mentoring program  where high school students mentor elementary students and New York Life Workplace Mentoring Program- where students are transported to corporate headquarters  for exposure into a corporate workplace with emphasis on workplace etiquette, resume writing, office attire, writing and sending emails, writing and communication skills and presentation skills and public speaking.


Over the past three years, BBBS collected 1.7 million pounds of clothes and soft items

700,000 pounds of misc. hard items

155,000 pieces of furniture-

They collect 65,000 pounds of clothes weekly.

 All items collected are removed from the waste stream- if the items are not sold they are repurposed – but nothing collected goes  into landfills.  

By Rob Greenstein on 04/08/2014 at 5:12 pm

The Take It or Leave It Shop is a great resource and good for the environment.  I think the Supervisor and Town Board should get the FULL and COMPLETE facts before jumping to conclusions and trying to get the agreement with Big Brothers and Sisters through before too many people notice.  Shame on you Town Board.

By MJS on 04/08/2014 at 5:40 pm

I also agree with Maggie. I love to see people snapping up the items I have dropped off, and have a pile of things right now I planned to take down. So much better for our stuff to find a new home that isn’t the landfill. It is one of the few genuine small town aspects left to our small town..

By Sarah Hodder on 04/08/2014 at 5:59 pm

I could not agree more with Maggie Christ and other advocates of TIOLI.  It has been a great community service and our family has used it often—both ways. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

By Betsey Metz on 04/08/2014 at 6:26 pm

The Take it or Leave It Shed has been a great source for college apartments, toys and art projects. We are saddened that the town supervisor has decided to put it on the chopping block. One of many mistakes in his first 100 days

By counting the days on 04/08/2014 at 7:27 pm

I hope the town will reconsider the proposal to shut down TIOLI shop at the recycling center.  Its a great place to take items that are no longer wanted or useful.  Many of the items I have brought there over the years, are things that charities don’t want to take.  I’ve found the local thrift shops to be rather “picky”(and thats fine..)  The TIOLI an ideal place to bring items that might not be suitable for the thrift shops but that I wouldn’t want to put out on the curb either.  KEEP IT OPEN!!
Linda Ehrlich

By Linda Ehrlich on 04/08/2014 at 7:57 pm

Greenstein and his crew are slowly but surely destroying much of what so many of us love about our Town.  Rob, quaint ain’t bad.  Moving Town Hall to CC will destroy downtown!

By Killing our small Town feel on 04/08/2014 at 11:38 pm

The take it or leave it shop is a valuable resource in our town. It’s an opportunity to share and recycle among neighbors and mingle instead of just dropping items in a box in the parking lot. I use it regularly and have been thrilled seeing my unwanted items eagerly snapped up by needy families or resourceful neighbors. My 83 year old mom told me about it 20 years ago and she uses it regularly too. Let’s keep it going.

By Peggy Meenan on 04/09/2014 at 7:19 am

Putting a kibosh on plastic bag ordinance, bumping up a gas guzzling garbage pick up back to two days a week, and shutting down the take it or leave it up cycling shed.
Clealy this supervisor has no concern for the environment.

Next thing you know, he’ll be out campaigning for his idol, Rob Astorino, who intends to bring gas hydro fracking to NY.

By Greenstein is the wrong kind of Green on 04/09/2014 at 7:31 am

Rob you got this one wrong too.  I totally agree with Maggie.  As usual you act without thinking or doing your research.  Wrong charity.  Dpw guys don’t like it.  You have not learned how to lead yet and you are not getting good advice from your assistant.  She has no experience.

By Thank you Maggie on 04/09/2014 at 9:30 am

I’d go further. Ms. Shapiro does have experience of last year’s attempt to close the shop. So do Chapin and Mottel. This drew the same reaction last fall when John Buckley proposed it. Knowing what happened last fall the town bd should have been better informed by Shapiro, Chapin and Mottel before trying again with the same story.

By On the contrary – she does have experience on 04/09/2014 at 1:29 pm

I agree with Maggie Christ. The TIOLI shed is a great community exchange and is emblematic of the small town values that make new castle an appealing place to live.

By Matt Egan on 04/10/2014 at 12:25 am

I agree that there are many benefits for the Take it or leave it here in town. I visit the recycling center every weekend and tend to see the same people waiting around the Take it or leave is shed.

If this service is meant for residents of Chappaqua only I suggest that it be better managed. No one at the shed has ever asked me if I live in town, and I would say that is true for everyone else who are taking items away.

By Not local on 04/11/2014 at 9:31 am

rob wants to placate the town employees at the expense of the people who pay their salaries. He still has not learned that he cannot be a friend to everybody.

Unrelated to anything, I just returned from Armonk Village this morning bringing in breakfast for my family. That place is vibrant, bustling and charming. What’s wrong with this picture?

By what planet are we living on on 04/11/2014 at 9:35 am

The Take it or leave it is a reason to live here and pay the highest taxes in the nation?  shoot me now

By Cripes on 04/11/2014 at 9:36 am

For all those comments submitters who are blasting Greenstein for wanting to shut it down, I had a conversation with the DPW employees at least 1 year prior to the election in which (they) stated their objection to the program, and indicated that the current ( i.e. the now former) town board officials were in concert with them and were working to shut it down.

It doesn’t really seem factual to portrait the rumored direction on the current administration.

By Timeline and facts on 04/12/2014 at 10:04 am

At least they listened to us and now it will open along with the Farmer’s Market at the train station. Not as convenient, but . . . This supervisor is going to run our town into the ground.
But you elected him!

By Long Time Resident on 04/12/2014 at 12:07 pm

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We encourage civil, civic discourse. In other words, be pithy and polite. All comments will be reviewed before publication to assure that this standard is met.