They're big blue bins that get donations to the right people at the right time. And they're the brainchild of a man so dedicated to the cause he's funding it with his own 401(k).
Bin Donated, a charitable organization barely two years old, is an "aggregator of in-kind donations," explains its creator, Judson Kinnucan.
"We collect items on behalf of other charities and give them to them free of charge," he said.
Why? The answer, Kinnucan said, is simple.
"Because they need them. People in Chicago need things every single day. We collect things like books, food supplies, pet supplies, hygiene, bicycles; all kinds of things that people need. We sort them and give them to the charities. It's like green giving," he explained.
Kinnucan said this type of service has never been done before. He's not selling the items, he’s funding the project out of his own retirement account.
"We have some donors, but we are hoping to get corporate sponsors. In the last eight months we’ve collected over $300,000 of stuff to Chicagoans, and it’s just me right now," said Kinnucan.
Bin Donated focuses on different needs by month. On this trip, we followed them to PAWS in Lincoln Park where a truckload of used but still-good sheets from the Hyatt Regency O’Hare were used to line beds of puppies and kittens waiting to be adopted.
The service, said PAWS founder and chair Paula Fasseas, is invaluable.
"We can’t go out and buy sheets and towels. We always ask for donations and we never have enough. It is wonderful to work with Bin Donated," she said.
And, said Kinnucan, the organization collects necessary items at even more necessary times.
"People give in October and November and December. That’s when everyone feels the need to give. What happens other nine months of the year? That’s really what Bin Donated focuses on," he said.