If my bank account allowed me to furnish my home with gold-rimmed furniture, I would no longer toss the mailed pleas for charitable donations into my recycling bin. For the record, Bill Gates never did share his fortune with me, as promised by a plethora of emails. Consequently, retirement and my financial reality designates the limited charities that I can support with cash donations.
My time is equally challenged, especially this time of year. Consequently, my favorite way to give is to anonymously drop off food and toys in the collection barrels strategically placed in banks and other local businesses.
What are ways that we can give without membership, dues, meetings, committees, and landing on the mailing lists of the never ending mailers thick with dynamic photos of sad faced children, seniors citizens, dogs, and panda bears?
- Let’s start with the basics, like socks and underwear. According to a post in The Pollination Project, “Out of all the donated items that trickle their way down to the homeless, socks are the most needed yet the least donated.” It stands to reason that brand new undies would be appreciated too. Check with your favorite homeless support center to find out how to deliver these essentials to them.
- Project Linus calls for the gift of warmth and comfort for “… children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer ‘blanketeers’.” Visit the website www.projectlinus.org to find a collection facility nearest you.
- A no-kill animal shelter would dearly appreciate your donation of canned and dry food for the animals sheltered there.
- Dress for Success takes gently used business attire for women “… to help women thrive in work and in life.” This link will help you find a local affiliate: https://www.dressforsuccess.org/affiliate-list/
- Online shopping sites like Amazon Smile, GoodShop and GiveBuy donate a portion of your purchase to your favorite charity. (I call this a twofer!)
- You might hit the nail on the head by donating basic building supplies to homeless shelters in progress or Habitat for Humanity. Boxes of nails, duct tape, measuring tapes, hammers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, and so forth, would likely not be declined by the project manager.
- The magazine Real Simple suggests a really simple way to give: “Get free money for your charitable donations through work—many corporations will match their employees’ donations up to 100 percent, which means double the impact. If your firm offers this, we encourage you to think about taking advantage of it, since it’s a unique opportunity to make your money go twice as far for a cause you believe in.”
- The gift of clearing snow around an elderly person’s home, or clipping that person’s roses for the winter, is a most generous gift when the season forces our elders indoors.
- I had one friend who purchased a dozen poinsettias and anonymously left them at the doors of those she knew were unable to enjoy this holiday icon. Her card simply said, “With love and holiday blessings.”
- I’d be remiss by not suggesting the gift of blood to your local Red Cross.
- It’s a time in history when the greatest gift of all is kindness. Kindness wrapped with smiles warms every heart.
I can’t guarantee that the above suggestions will slow down the donation requests in your mailbox, but I can promise you personal joy that will help make this season bright.