Shopping seems to be a bigger part of the holiday season with advertisers pushing consumers to spend earlier every year. Instead of this being the season of getting, make it the season of giving to those in need. Your efforts will make the biggest impact locally. We’ve asked homeless shelters in major cities what they need this holiday season. Read on to see what to give and where.
Pine Street Inn in Boston
There are many ways to help Pine Street Inn by volunteering or holding drives. Make the winter season more tolerable by donating individual tea or hot chocolate packets, they use more than 150 a day! If you can give more, healthy grains including oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and brown rice are also needed to provide quality meals. Food donations can received every day, between the hours of 7am and 5pm.
Sunday Breakfast in Philadelphia
There is nothing like a fresh pair of knickers. That’s just what Sunday Breakfast in Philly’s Callowhill neighborhood is asking for this year. The homeless shelter is in desperate need of new underwear for both men and women in assorted sizes. If you can give more, mail a homemade holiday card to spread some cheer to the unfortunate.
The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project in Washington DC
This winter, The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project hopes to provide a gift for every child it serves who are living in temporary housing during the holidays. Purchase a gift or two from their Toys R Us Wish List, #38248848. Gifts ordered online can be shipped directly, enter “Project” as the first name and “Playtime” as the last name. If you can give more, get together family and friends to sponsor gifts for larger groups of children. There are over 400 children the organization is trying to account for this holiday season.
New York City Rescue Mission in New York City
Winters in New York is tough enough without being homeless. For New York City Rescue Mission, their top priority is making sure those in needed are bundled up for the cold months ahead. They are asking for blankets, heavy coats, hats, scarves, gloves and warm socks. Items should be clean and gently used, if not new. If you can give more, they also need new underwear and socks for both men and women as well as personal hygiene items like shaving razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and deodorant.
Lotus House in Miami
Located in South Florida, the Lotus House organization is dedicated to improving the lives of homeless women, youth and children. This holiday season they are asking for new, unwrapped, toy for children ages infant to 18-years old. They request toy donations that do no suggest violence; no swords, guns and no Barbie dolls. If you can give more, there is an Amazon wishlist for women’s items such as toiletries and bathrobes.
Deborah’s Place in Chicago
For women experiencing homelessness, Deborah’s Place provides permanent supportive housing. This year they need toiletries including full size bottles of shampoo, body wash, deodorants and bath towels. If you can give more, additional donations of twin size bedding sets, small kitchenware items and even laundry detergent will make a huge difference to women getting back on their feet.
LA Family Housing in Los Angeles
When the LA Family Housing cares for over 6,000 homeless people year after year, they are grateful for community support. Their biggest need are hygiene kits containing of toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, toilet paper and paper towels in a re-usable shopping bag. If you can give more, pick up a few toys for the Wishmart, LAGH’s Santa-themed toy store available to over 300 children receiving LAFH services during the holidays.
Episcopal Community Services in San Francisco
Episcopal Community Services serves almost 7,000 homeless people annually in the Bay Area. This nonprofit organization is asking for canvas reusable tote bags, throw blankets, socks in adult sizes and toiletries including deodorant, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste. If you can give more, add cleaning supplies such as laundry detergent and disinfecting wipes to your list.
DESC in Seattle
For Downtown Emergency Service Center serving almost 3,500 people every day, their number one request is socks! Often people coming to DESC have worn the same pair of socks for months, often without washing. The nonprofit organization goes through thousands of socks ever month. They mainly need regular crew socks for adult men. If you can give more, coats for men and women (plus-size) are also in demand. Used coats are fine, as long as they close and keep people warm.