It may not seem like it, but the holidays are approaching quicker than you may think. As the holidays approach, so too does the need for charitable donations.
Various surveys have shown that nearly all Americans (more than 95%) participate in some form of charitable giving. In 2014 alone, more than $350 billion was giving to charitable organizations. In 2016, that number was closer to $400 billion.
Whether you’re donating to military veterans, military families, victims of a disaster, homeless folks or any other number of people in need, there are plenty of good reasons to donate to charity and plenty of reputable organizations that do a lot of great work.
Aside from money, one of the biggest categories of items people donate is household items; think things you don’t need that other people could use. You may not think so, but your everyday household items can go a long way to helping those in need, especially making donations that pick up at home.
If you’re looking to be charitable this upcoming holiday season and make donations that pick up at home, here are some things to consider donating:
- Clothing: These days, Americans have clothes in staggering numbers. Americans buy twice as many clothes as they did 20 years ago and although 4.7 billion pounds of clothing is donated every year, 10.5 million tons of it still ends up in landfills every year. What’s more, basically every piece of clothing imaginable can be recycled, but the average American still sends 70 pounds of clothing to the trash each year.
Rather than throwing old clothing away, you can make charitable clothing donations that pick up at home to places like Purple Heart Pickup or Red Cross pickup. If you’ve got a closet full of barely worn clothing, you can donate it where it might go to a veteran or a family who can make great use of them. Be warned however, if you’re going to donate clothing don’t be a jerk. If you wouldn’t donate it to a family member, don’t put it in the donation pile.
- Food: Another good item to donate is food. Hunger is an ongoing problem everywhere in the world and a donation of food is never a bad one. You can easily stock up on canned goods like fruit and vegetables and boxed items that can go to families in need. You can also donate cold food such as meat and dairy products. Food banks are busy around the holidays and you can help them stock up without breaking the bank.
- Toiletries: During the holidays, one of the first things to go in pantries and homeless shelters is personal hygiene items like shampoo, soap, towels and deodorant. Staying clean isn’t a luxury that folks in need always have, so donating travel sized hygiene items is a welcome donation for folks during the holidays.
- Toys: The fact of the matter is that not all families have the means to provide presents for their children at Christmas. With that in mind, toy drives and donations of toys are also welcome during the holidays. Used toy donations should be rarely or gently used toys in good condition. New toys should be kept in their packaging. By making toy donations, you can help families give their kids a good Christmas.
By making donations of the items mentioned above as well as other items, you’re doing a lot of good for a lot of people in need. If you’re going to make donations that pick up at home, check with the organization you want to donate to and get a handle on what their pickup rules are. Make sure you put your donated items in easily transportable boxes and make sure you’re home on donation days. In some cases, you may find certain charities have local drop-off centers.
There are any number of ways you can donate to Americans in need and by donating, you’re playing the role of Good Samaritan and taking care of your fellow man. Take a look around your home and take some time to donate. You never know what folks in need might be able to use.