Donate Good Stuff added over 2,000 donation sites over the past two days across Minnesota and the US from all kinds of medical providers & community-facing workers. These requests give a view into the situation people are faced with right now. They are full of urgency and gratitude:
It is uplifting and inspirational to see how quickly people are coming together all over the country to respond - providing materials, sewing, and logistics to get things where they are most needed.
Right here in Minnesota, we have the Twin Cities Mask Makers, and Treadle Yard Goods has provided free kits. Across the nation, there are armies of people mobilizing - #MillionMaskMayday, #MillionMaskChallenge among others.
Many ways to help
Mask-making is not the only way people are responding. Helping neighbors in need, reaching out to those who are isolated, and sharing beautiful, funny, & inspirational posts to keep anxiety at bay are all important contributions to the effort.
There is no question COVID-19 is serious. And it's true, we are short on supplies. But we can choose to focus on the difference we CAN make - staying at home, social distancing, washing hands, disinfecting high-touch surfaces, getting supplies out as quickly as we can, and keeping each other's spirits up in all kinds of creative ways.
We'll get through this together.
Here are 9 items to consider donating as you de-clutter
#1 Toilet Paper
Many organizations collect toilet paper and other basic necessities to help people who may be financially struggling. Programs like Eastside Elders appreciate these common items that can be expensive for people on a limited income. Search here to find a non-profit near you that is in need of extra basics you might have laying around.
#2 Car Seats
You might not realize the benefit a car seat can be to a parent or guardian taking care of babies and young children! Consider donating car seats, strollers, etc to a safety-net program for families like Sharing and Caring Hands. Before you donate items that another family will rely on, be sure they are still safe and double-check the organization's current requests and details for accepting donations.
#3 Small Travel Size Toiletries
So many people travel and typically pick up small toiletries, which then end up sitting for months or years on your shelf and then end up in the trash. Instead of letting those travel size toiletries sit or throwing them out, consider donating them to a shelter for youth like Youth Link MN or other shelters near you. For hygiene sake, donate only the unopened ones.
When your car is no longer serving your needs don't just get send it to the junkyard! Many organizations need vehicles to transport those in need or to give a leg-up to someone who needs it. Did you know you can donate vehicles to places that actually fix them and also use them to help others such as Newgate School?
Did you know that many organizations have car donation programs (most use a third party to auction your car to help fund services. Be aware that some may not provide much benefit to the nonprofit although it can be a better bet than the junkyard)
Also consider donating to local technical schools or high schools with mechanic or automotive shop classes.
#5 Bedding and Sheets
Bedding and blankets are important in a disaster, emergency, and people in need. This is true year-round, and especially during the colder months.
Consider donating bedding, sheets, linens, and blankets with lots of life still in them to transitional housing programs like Haven Housing, emergency programs like STEP (Saint Louis Park Emergency Program), or programs serving new neighbors like MORE.
#6 Clean Plastic Shopping Bags
So many people just throw away plastics bags, but you can use them to help pets! Not only can you provide resources for animals, when you donate them to this Animal Humane Society, you also can help keep plastic out of landfills and the ocean.
If you can't find a place to donate them near you (note: in most cities you cannot include them with regular recycling), stores throughout the US will collect & recycle them like Target, Cub and also Goodwill. Find a convenient drop-off near you HERE.
Footwear is essential for those living in Minnesota! We rely on these not only in everyday life and especially in winter! When your shoes no longer serve their purpose in your life consider donating them to the Shoe Away Hunger program where they can be given a new life (drop off sites at all Schuler Shoes), or nonprofit resellers such as The Arc where profit from the sale of your items helps individuals with developmental and intellectual differences.
#8 Baby Formula
If you have gotten free formula in a brand that you don't use, or find you have extra once your little one no longer needs it, consider donating it (unopened and not expired). Formula can be expensive and it is such a basic item for many babies, it is truly appreciated by places serving mothers and children like North Side Life Care Center.
If you get a newspaper to read or just delivered to your home, you can do better than just tossing them when you are done. Animal shelters and rescues, like MN Pocket Pet Rescue, will appreciate your old newspapers to use as bedding for cuddly critters.