This year, since checks are a bit scarce at our house, I've been trying to consider what we can give. In addition to volunteering (and there are many, many fine organizations that could use our time and energy), I wanted to see if there was any way to use some of our clutter to make the holidays a little better for someone else.
During an afternoon visit with my friend Google, we compiled this list of things you may not realize you can donate to a good cause.
- DVDs4Vets coordinates the donation of new and used DVDs and portable DVD players to veterans hospitals throughout the US. Visit dvds4vets.org or contact your local VA hospital.
- KidFlicks supplies DVDs to children's hospitals nationwide. Visit www.kidflicks.org or contact your local pediatric unit.
- Professional Clothing Dress for Success (for women) and Career Gear (for men) specialize in providing business suits and interview clothing for those who are trying to get back on their feet. Visit dressforsuccess.org or careergear.org or contact your local homeless shelter.
- Cell Phones Call To Protect refurbishes phones for survivors of domestic violence. Visit www.wirelessfoundation.org/CallToProtect or contact your local women's shelter.
- Hair Wigs for Kids and Locks of Love create hairpieces for children who have lost their hair and cannot afford the cost of a custom human-hair wig. Visit www.wigsforkids.org or www.locksoflove.org or contact your local salon.
- Airline Miles
- Hero Miles provides airline miles to injured military personnel undergoing medical treatment and families. Visit www.fisherhouse.org/programs/heroMiles.shtml.
- Miracle Flights for Kids flies sick children to medical centers around the country for surgery or therapy. Visit www.miracleflights.org.
- Many other organizations also accept donated miles, contact your favorite charity or your airline directly for more information.
- Books for Africa is working to end poverty in many African nations by providing textbooks and other reading material to enhance the educational systems in impoverished areas. Visit www.booksforafrica.org.
- Prison Book Program helps to provide books and educational resources to prisoners. Visit www.prisonbookprogram.org
- You can also check with your local library to see if they are accepting book donations or for additional organizations that can put your books to good use.
- Shoes Soles4Souls distributes new and used footwear to those in need around the world. Visit www.soles4souls.org or contact your local shoe store.
- Overseas Coupon Program volunteers mail coupons (even expired ones!) for use on military bases around the world. Visit www.ocpnet.org.
- Food pantries, homeless shelters, and anti-cruelty societies also may accept donated coupons. Check with those near you to find out their policies.
- Other Stuff
- Churches, preschools, and daycare centers often collect household items for use in craft projects. Contact those in your area to see what they might be able to use.
- Homeless shelters will often accept hotel or trial-size personal care products. Check with your local shelter for their donation guidelines.
- Animal shelters often take worn towels and bedding items. Contact shelters in your area to see what they can use.
For more great ideas, tips, and tricks, visit Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.