I would love to receive a new stocking cap for the holidays, as mine is all ratty and the same goes for my stupid mittens, and ooh, I totally need boots! When I start thinking like this, I try to remind myself that there are people that truly need a hat, and mittens, and so much more.
Here are the wishlists from a few homeless shelters from around the country, but feel free to list other fine organizations in the comments. All of them accept monetary donations, too, of course!
Ruth Ellis Center, Detroit:
"Winter Needs: To help our youth through the winter, donations of the following items are of the highest priority: waterproof shoes or boots, hand and feet warmers, new or gently used jackets and coats, hats, scarves, heavy socks, winter boots, sidewalk salt, and other winter clothing items including pants, sweaters, and long sleeve shirts"
Lincoln Park Community Shelter, Chicago:
Toothpaste/floss, Shaving Razors, Deodorant, Underwear, Small containers of sunscreen, Individual Kleenex, Flash Drives, Can Openers, Napkins, Large Mixing Bowls, First Aid Supplies (Glucose Strips, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Cough Syrup, Daytime Non-Drowsy Flu Relief, Antihistamine, etc), Cleaning Supplies (dish soap, sponges, dish towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, bleach, glass cleaner, oven cleaner, spray disinfectant, etc), CTA Passes, New Men's Dress Socks, Briefcases, Umbrellas, AC units, Space Heaters, Fans
Homeless Youth Alliance, San Francisco:
"Goods including clothing, food, hygiene supplies, dog food and other pet care supplies, sleeping bags, tents, tarps, blankets, office furniture and supplies, and clean needles and other medical supplies are gratefully accepted and are tax-deductible."
Transition Projects, Portland, Oregon:
Hygiene Products (unused deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, lotion, feminine hygiene products), Linens (new or gently used blankets, towels, twin sheets, pillows), Adult Clothing (new or gently used clothes, underwear, socks, shoes, shoe strings, belts), and Other Items (small toys, coloring books, books, flash drives, toilet paper)
Women In Need, New York City:
"New items are accepted throughout the year. We especially need: Clothing, Baby items, Shoes, Toys, Books, Tolietries, Undergarments. Gently used items are always appreciated; we especially need coats and career clothing. Please note that all clothing-related items MUST be cleaned and delivered in their dry cleaning bags, otherwise we can not accept them."
Shalom House, Detroit:
Cooking oil and spray, sugar, cleaning supplies, boxed potatoes/entrees, mops, brooms, dustpans, scrub brushes, sponges, plastic wrap, plastic zipper bags, foil, toilet paper, paper towels, sweat suits, can openers, new bras