Thursday

SOS Mom Saver: Where To Donate Non-Food Items

I have frequently talked about where to donate food items you might get for free or make a profit on.  (Feeding America lists food banks nationwide for those who've missed it.)  I've had several people recently contact me to ask where to donate non-food items.

Some food banks will also take over-the-counter meds, health and beauty items, and paper products.  For those that won't (or if you'd just like another resource for donating), you can also donate most of those items to Ronald McDonald House Charities.  For those who are unfamiliar with what they do, they house families of children who are in out-of-town hospitals.  I have witnessed first-hand what a blessing the Ronald McDonald House can be to families.  To get an idea of what families spend while staying there, think for a minute how much more it costs to care for your family when you're out of town.  Ronald McDonald house does offer meals for the families, but the families are on their own for toiletries, health and beauty items, etc.  Any items you donate help a family that is likely already incredibly financially strapped &/or in deep financial debt because of a sick child.  They also enjoy donations of toys, coloring books, crayons, sippy cups, formula, bottles, and the like for young children staying there with their parents.

Your local nursing home, assisted-living facility, or retirement community welcome donations; especially of health and beauty items and over-the-counter medical products.  These largely consist of seniors on a fixed income.  Every little bit helps.  They find donations of diabetic monitors especially helpful as this is an expensive product that many will go without if they don't have the money to buy.  Some will also take over-the-counter meds, but you'll have to check with each individual facility to find their restrictions and needs.  I find across the board that they need any medical products donated to be in their original packaging with no damage to the box.  In the case of diabetic monitors, they won't even take it if the UPC is cut off or if shrink-wrap is supposed to be there but isn't.

Homeless Shelters are another excellent place to donate.  What they will take and when will vary by shelter.  Your best bet is to contact the shelter you want to donate to directly to see what their needs and guidelines are.

Low cost medical clinics will sometimes also take donations of over-the-counter medicines and other medical products if you show receipt of where you purchased it and give it to them in the original packaging.

Domestic violence shelters have unique needs.  Women and children who come there have often left literally everything behind.  If you need it to live, they'll need it from clothes to diapers & wipes to food and kitchen items.

Of course many churches always have donation programs.  Contact your local church and see what their needs are.  You might be able to help by donating to their food pantry or you might be able to help reduce the church's operating budget by providing a years worth of Clorox wipes for the nursery.

You can also always ask around.  You might have a neighbor who HAS to use Allergra (a medicine that's a current money-maker at CVS).  Even those who don't normally coupon would welcome a generous donation of an expensive over-the-counter medicine.

Above all, remember, a food pantry is not usually JUST a food pantry.  They usually accept many more items than food...and are often low on those other items because people DON'T know that they accept these items.  There are even some pantries and organizations who will take frozen or refrigerated items.  Don't be afraid to ask!  The worst they'll say is no...but you might find a new place to bless in an unexpected way!
 
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