Useful Donations for Institutions This Holiday Season

Many people want to help others in need during the holiday season, but it may be tough to know exactly what may be needed, especially for institutions and shelters. Often, local food banks and churches will donate food so that there are plenty of meals to go around, but the needy require a lot more than food to have a comfortable and happy environment.

Clothing is often a good donation, but similarly as with food, institutions often receive clothing donations from other non-profit organizations within the community, so it is best to check before donating any type of clothing. It may be better suited being donated to a Salvation Army or Goodwill store.

There are many types of items that can be bought and donated, as well as items just sitting around your home collecting dust that can help those in need during the holidays.

For example, many shelters and institutions do have a “TV room” and “movie nights.” Many of them are not equipped with state of the art equipment and satellite services, and could use items such as older televisions and VCRs. VHS cassettes themselves, as well as old DVD players and movies, can be a great donation.

Donations like older printers, scanners, and computers and computer parts are also a great thing to donate. The clients may be able to hone their computer skills to help them better find a job as they leave a transitional environment, or the staff themselves may be working with a tight budget and could use office supplies.

Places such as community centers and churches may also desperately need office supplies, such as old printers or ink cartridges. HP toner is often in high demand for places that have homeless and needy clients. Parts like mice, keyboards, monitors, ink cartridges, and cables are great to donate, and you can help eliminate clutter in your attic or basement at the same time.

Old dressers and furniture, even if they are in slight disrepair, can also be good donations. Many transitional facilities will have clients in shared rooms with very little space to keep their belongings safe. Desk and floor lamps are also always appreciated.

Some items can be purchased cheaply and donated as well. Personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream, and razors may be items we take for granted, but those in shelters desperately need. Do be careful if hygiene products contain alcohol, as some facilities may ban products, such as mouthwash, that have an alcohol content. Churches and community centers may also run supply drives throughout the holidays season, and may have a more exact listing of precise needs.

First aid supplies such as band aids and Neosporin are also great to donate. Often, these items can be understocked and are desperately needed in facilities. Feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, and nail clippers are also good items to donate.

If you have a tendency to keep travel-sized and hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles, now would be a great time to donate them. Shelters and transitional facilities are always in need of these items to give to their clients. Shampoo and other toiletries in standard sized bottles can be donated as well.

Household items such as blankets, sheets, pillows, and pillow cases are also in high demand this holiday season. Many facilities will try to provide clients and residents with these items, but the demand can be higher than the supply. Warm, thick socks and new underwear are also in high demand during the holiday season and the winter months.

Whether you are able to donate your old printers, food, clothing, or just your time this holiday season, you could easily give someone a glimmer of hope and vastly improve their outlook. The holidays can be a lonely and tough time, especially for those in transitional living, and just a little bit of comfort can go a long way.

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