With nearly 1.6 billion people lacking adequate housing and 100 million homeless people worldwide, you might be thinking of ways to help out. If you’re unsure of where to start, read below for 8 things you can donate to help those in need.
- Clothes. While getting your spring-cleaning done, put aside gently used clothes you no longer wear. I do this about six times a year, usually donating a garbage bag full of clothes each time. If you’re unsure of where to donate your clothes, look for a local shelter or church. Typically, you’ll see clothing donation bins outside these places so you can drop off the bag at your convenience. Some places will even give you a tax deduction slip.
- Time. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or help organize a clothing drive. You don’t need to give up personal belongings or money to help those less fortunate. You might even have a skill that could benefit those in need, like this barber that gives free haircuts to the homeless.
- Furniture. Whether it’s a couch, chair, table or even a bed, there are people out there who can’t afford these common household items. Instead of throwing out your furniture or selling it, think about donating it to an organization that will resell it at a small cost. Places like homeless shelters, GoodWill stores, the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity’s Restores are great for donating furniture. These organizations usually let you deduct the donation from your taxes which is an added benefit.
- Household items. Sheets, dishes, lamps, books, etc. When someone has to make their house a home again after a disaster, they need everything. Before you throw out your towels, sheets, or even out of style dishes, think about donating them if they’re in decent shape. The dishes you grew to dislike could be what someone serves their first meal on in their new home.
- Electronics. There are better ways to get rid of your old electronics than selling them. Cellphones, televisions and even computers are items that you can donate to people in need. There are great organizations like Cellphones for Soldiers, which collects used phones so people serving in the military can keep in contact with their families.
- Shoes. Clothes aren’t the only gently used closet items you should be looking to donate during spring-cleaning. Those who are less fortunate need shoes and not just sneakers. If you have heels, dress shoes or boots that are in good shape, think about donating them to one of the organizations listed above. You might be thinking, “Why does a homeless person need dress shoes?” Well, it’s simple. There are many homeless people who make an effort to find a job and when they go on an interview, they should be able to dress the part. Think about what you would wear for a job interview: blazer, slacks, button-down shirt, dress shoes… Though the first three items might be easier to come by, dress shoes aren’t the first thing you think of to donate and can be scarce in donation stores. Dress for Success is one organization you could donate dress shoes to because they focus on dressing less fortunate women for the workplace. So next time you clean out your closet or even go shoe shopping (sales!) think of donating a pair of dress shoes.
- Money. I know a lot of people are iffy about giving money to homeless people, but there are other ways to give money . You don’t have to hand someone on the street $20 and wonder if they’ll put it to good use. Try donating money to an organization like United Way to help fund programs for the less fortunate. Even better, buy gift cards to local restaurants and retail stores and give it to someone in need so they can buy a meal or new clothing.
- Cars. We’ve all heard the annoying “Kars for Kids” commercial at some point. As repetitive and irritating as their jingle might be, this non-profit organization donates its proceeds to a Jewish outreach program that promotes family support and development. You might be on the fence about donating to a group with religious ties but the money raised helps fund family growth and relationship counseling. If you’re still unsure, there are plenty of other organizations you can donate your car to, such as Vehicles for Veterans and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
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If you missed it… For my birthday I asked for food gift cards to keep in my wallet to give to those I see on the street that are in need of a meal. (I don't always carry cash with me and it's nice to know it will be put to good use). I NEVER expected this great of a response. I'm so touched. Thank you to the INCREDIBLE HUMANS at @KFC (YES THAT'S A WHOLE BUCKET OF 'EM 🍗🍗) @MCDONALDS @SUBWAY @THEDOORONLINE & @CODYSIMPSON for your contribution and generosity! YOU are making people's days and weeks, I'm just the lucky messenger! 🙏🙏🙏
What do you do to help those less fortunate? Do you have a favorite charity to donate to?
*Feature photo originally posted on Instagram by @amyfunlife