The holiday season is about giving, and one of the best ways to do that is to donate to the less fortunate. To give from the heart, focus on giving unused items or buying new ones that people cannot afford or have nobody to give them gifts. By donating unused or new items, you can give the gift of love, warmth, respect, caring, and belonging. Below you will find a list of the 10 best unused items to donate this holiday season.

The gift of nutrition is essential and quickly done while you are shopping for your own groceries. Shop for items that keep without refrigeration and will not expire soon.

    • canned vegetables or fruit
    • canned beans; pork and beans or refried beans
    • dried fruits and nuts
    • dried beans, rice, or noodles
    • crackers, rice cakes, granola bars, and whole-grain snacks
    • dried soups that only require hot water added
    • spices such as salt and pepper
    • bake or cook food yourself and hand it out
    • pet food, especially for dogs

Everyone needs hygiene essentials, and some are nearly impossible for the less fortunate to get their hands on. Make gift bags or boxes full of items.

    • hand wipes
    • packs of tissue
    • maxi pads and tampons
    • toothbrush and toothpaste
    • nail clippers
    • cotton balls and cotton swabs
    • band-aids, ace bandage wraps, and ointments for infections
    • chapstick or lip balm
    • combs and hairbrushes
    • mints, cough drops, or gum
    • shampoo and conditioner
    • shower gel or soap
    • deodorant
    • body spray, perfume, or cologne
    • toilet Paper
    • laundry detergent

Clothing makes you think about the basics; tops, bottoms, and shoes. Of course, those are necessary items, but you should consider other clothing items that many find difficult to afford or items that are not on the top of the donation lists. Here are some ideas of what you can give that will genuinely help someone the most.

    • socks are actually the hardest to get and the least donated items; large packs of heavy-duty are best
    • underwear in large packages. These cannot be donated used; only unused or new packages will do
    • long underwear or thermals are desperately needed in the cold months
    • jackets, heavy coats, hoodies, and sweatshirts
    • dresses and suits for job interviews
    • shoes in all types and sizes, cold weather consider sneakers and warm weather sandals or flip flops

Warm and cold weather is harder for the needy; many don’t have basic things to keep them warm or shaded.

    • umbrellas
    • rain gear like waterproof ponchos or jackets
    • gloves
    • hats; can be stocking caps, baseball caps, or big sun hats
    • scarves
    • tarps
    • tents
    • sleeping bags
    • sunscreen

Reusable Items with make sure the money you spend on donations goes a lot farther.

    • water bottles
    • bandanas
    • flashlights
    • batteries
    • food storage containers
    • tubs with lids to keep items dry and safe
    • carry-all bags or backpacks; duffle bags, luggage bags, or suitcases are nice
    • reading glasses
    • playing cards
    • portable AM/FM radio with extra batteries
    • portable chargers for phones

Living without blanks, sheets, or towels is not easy. In the old days’ people made their own linens, and today they are still standard wedding or housewarming gifts. Why not warm someone’s heart with a supply of basic linens they can’t afford.

    • blankets
    • sheets
    • pillowcases
    • pillows
    • bath towels
    • washcloths
    • handkerchiefs
    • dishcloths and towels
    • curtains
    • hot pads or oven mitts
    • tablecloths

Babies and children always have needs, many of which are not toys. Just like adults, they require essential everyday items to help them get through life.

    • children’s no tear shampoo, conditioner, and detangler
    • diapers and pullups in different sizes, both day and night-time
    • wipes scent-free or hypoallergenic
    • rash ointments or baby powder (cornstarch is safe and works better)
    • child-sized combs and brushes
    • children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste
    • washcloths or bath scrunchies; cute baby sponges or character cloths are great
    • plastic cups, plates, and bowls for kids

Donating school and art supplies during the holiday break is a great time to help families restock on supplies they have used up. Art supplies make fabulous donations. Countless people have incredible artistic talent but cannot afford to buy supplies to refine or express their art.

    • Paintbrushes
    • Paints
    • Sketchbooks
    • Pencils, regular and colored
    • Sharpeners
    • Erasers

Gift cards can buy many things. You can give a gift card for a clothing store and a transportation card so the person can get to the store and purchase clothing. If you happen to be at a gas station and see a homeless person standing outside, purchase a gift card or a hot sandwich to give them on your way out. Most needy people can get assistance with food and clothing but usually not enough and rarely what they like or what actually fits them. Gift cards enable them to get what they actually want or need.

    • grocery stores
    • apparel or big box stores
    • gas stations
    • fast food restaurants
    • family restaurants
    • city bus passes for a month or year are low cost
    • other transportation cards such as taxi companies

With your time and experience, the best gift you can give is yourself. There are many ways you can give your time to help others in need.

    • volunteer at a homeless shelter
    • work in a soup kitchen
    • bake or cook food
    • volunteer to read to children or elderly in hospitals
    • Offer free job training at shelters or work programs
    • provide on-the-job training once a month
    • If you own a business, hire someone in need of a job

One last suggestion is to hold a gift-giving party. Give a list of the items you want to give or share the list above with your family and friends. Set a date and invite everyone to come to make gift baskets and boxes full of donation items. Remember to wrap or gift bag your donations; these people don’t get actual gifts to open. Then all of you can go deliver to shelters or hand out your gifts. Make this a yearly tradition, so the younger generations learn how to care for their community members. For donation pickup near me contact South Florida donation center – we’re here to help!