There are plenty of people that take their homes and the amenities within them for granted. Not everyone gets to have a roof over their head every night or a bedroom all to themselves. For those of us who understand how fortunate we are, hearing that others go without things that we consider essentials is disconcerting at best and heart-wrenching at worst.
When you feel the call to help those less fortunate, it’s understandable that you would want to know you’re helping as much as you can. While shelters and charitable organizations appreciate all donations they receive, there are some items that people don’t think to donate but could be immensely helpful to someone without a home. We’ll show you the best items to donate to really help the homeless so that you’ll know your contributions are making a difference.
Underwear and Socks
Surprisingly enough, these are some of the most in-demand items for people who utilize homeless shelters. Clothes, in general, are a luxury when you can’t even afford a place to live. The unfortunate fact is that many people who are homeless need to buy lower-quality clothing to compensate. As such, they go through these clothes very quickly, leading to more clothing costs in the long run.
A donation of quality underwear and socks (still in the original packaging) means that a person without a home doesn’t need to be uncomfortable as well. You can make a big difference in someone’s life just by donating undergarments that you barely even think twice about each day. These kinds of donations are a perfect way to help when you may not have a ton of extra money.
One of the hardest things to deal with when you don’t have a home is keeping up with your personal hygiene. Without regular access to a shower, a bath, a sink, or even basic toiletries, hygiene can easily fall by the wayside. This problem goes deeper than just how someone smells or feels. Not having proper access to hygienic products can lead to illnesses and diseases that will make life even more difficult.
Many items fit into the toiletry category. Most of them are basic necessities that most people wouldn’t even consider might be difficult to attain. Some great donation options that can really improve a recipient’s quality of life include:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Hairbrushes and toothbrushes
- Nail clippers
Feminine Hygiene Products
In the same realm of hygiene, this category deserves to be on its own because of how important it is. Many people still don’t consider feminine hygiene products as essentials—even women with a permanent residence have to pay exorbitant prices for products they need to stay hygienic and clean.
Tampons and pads are crucial donation items because of their high price tags. Donating unopened packs of these is by far the best, but you can also take some of your own you haven’t used and package them in resealable containers, another handy item to have when you’re between houses.
One of the worst parts of not having your own home is that it’s hard to feel completely clean when you suffer constant exposure to the elements. Wearing the same clothes over and over to get the most out of them only exacerbates the problem. Laundry detergent can make a significant difference to the everyday comfort of someone without a home.
When you donate detergent, remember to stick to unscented and less-abrasive solutions. You never know if the person who ends up using that detergent might have an allergy or aversion to something that would make it unusable to them.
Cold Weather Clothing
It should go without saying that some of the best items to donate to really help the homeless are ones that protect them from the outside world. Exposure to the elements is a serious concern when you don’t have a place to live, especially if you live in an area with particularly harsh weather. Cold weather clothing is a great donation to keep the people you’re trying to help safe through fall and winter.
You can donate lots of different kinds of clothing in this category. Thermal underwear or undershirts are just as useful as a big, fluffy coat would be. Just keep the condition of the clothing you’re donating in mind. They won’t be of much use if they have rips or holes in them.
As we mentioned before, reusable and resealable containers can be incredibly effective at helping the homeless. More often than we’d like to imagine, homeless shelters can pass out food to those who arrive but aren’t able to package that food for later. As such, the people they help can have a much harder time surviving when they are not near a shelter location.
Reusable containers allow them to save food and leftovers for later, extending the amount of time they can go without needing to dip into a shelter.
More often than you might think, people who are homeless aren’t out there alone. Many are parents caring for children as well as themselves. This fact creates a high demand at homeless shelters for baby care products. It’s another example of stores markedly overpricing these kinds of items for the more fortunate, making them difficult to obtain for those with low incomes.
Everything from diapers and baby wipes to baby clothes and medicine are necessary here. Think about the most expensive items that mothers need to buy consistently, and focus on donating those to make the biggest impact possible.
Giving back is what we’re all about here at GreenDrop, but we want to make sure we’re giving back in really useful ways. You can check out our locations for home pickups and clothing donation centers in PA when you want to join the fight to help those in the most need. Whatever you decide to donate, know that GreenDrop will help make sure it’s being put to the best possible use.