9 Free Ways to Donate to Charity

Donate any time of year and any kind of good. You shouldn’t be donating just money or unwrapped new toys at Christmas. When you move, organize, clean or just think of throwing something away, don’t toss it, donate it! There are people all over the world, including in your community, who would appreciate some of the possessions we all take for granted.

An effective method to donate your excess things is to identify people who appreciate what you take for granted. Whether it’s clothes, books, games, toys, appliances, furniture, electronics, or knickknacks there’s somebody who greatly need some of the things you don’t want.

The Salvation Army and Goodwill


The Salvation Army or Goodwill is found in almost every community. Both non-profit organizations are usually listed online or in local directory assistance.  Box or bag up your old clothes, knickknacks, kitchen utensils and other items, and drop them off, simple. You can either drop off and be gone or, you may want to ask for a gift receipt for your taxes. The Salvation Army will even pick-up certain donations, just contact them for details.

Help Someone See


Drop off your old glasses at the Lions Club with, or without, the lenses in tact! There are multiple organizations that accept your old eye glasses but the Lions Club is very convenient. If your prescription has changed in the last couple of years, or you’re still holding onto an old pair of glasses that you never use, donate them. Don’t forget you can have less possessions and still be happy.

Check the directory to find your local Lions Club for drop off.

Household Supplies

Image: Our Father's Kingdom Services, via ofks.org
Image: Our Father’s Kingdom Services, via ofks.org

Donate cleaning supplies, sheets, pillowcases, towels, and even rags, to most churches synagogues and mosques. These ordinary, everyday donations will be used directly by the place of worship. Churches, and other places of worship can also use garden, and lawn supplies, and equipment. Don’t worry about whether the recipients will have use of your donation! Places of worship hold rummage sales to raise money or they will donate the items to needy people in the community. Just grab everything you know you’re not going to use and donate it! Let them dispense the items however they would like.

The Red Crossredcross

At any given moment in the world there is a flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, tidal wave, famine, epidemic or any other disaster. The Red Cross is always in need of sheets, blankets, pillows, pillowcases, towels, washcloths, bathrobes, pajamas, and anything else you can remove from your overloaded collection. The Red Cross also uses games, toys and gadgets. If you were eight years old and your home had been destroyed by a natural disaster even the smallest toy can bring comfort.


Stock Your Local Library

Image: Maui Friends of the Library, via mfol.org
Image: Maui Friends of the Library, via mfol.org

Many libraries face budget cuts, and the rising cost of new books, causes some libraries to stop purchasing for a time. Donate that stack of books that you have never touched (and probably won’t read in the future), books that you have read but are no longer important to you. You can even donate up-to-date and current magazine issues. If you’re done reading that magazine, drop it off at your local library. The same can be true for games, puzzles, audio books, CDs and DVDs. Just check with your local library to see what materials they except as donations.

Give Learning a Gift


All schools today face budget challenges. Books, current magazines, paper, pens, pencils, rulers, and any type of writing or desk equipment, will lend a helping hand in your community school system! Even charts, maps, historical memorabilia, educational puzzles, videos, and cassette tapes. If you’re concerned about commercialism of the classroom, donate your excess holdings. It is one small way you can help stem the tide! Just check with your local school system on what goods are needed and where they can be donated.


Make a Direct Donation to a Person in Need


The fastest way to make a donation is to simply hand an item over to the very person who needs it! If you are not comfortable approaching a person directly, donate to your local shelter.  If you would like to donate to a specific person, or family, in your community but would like it to be anonymous, seek out the help of a local house of worship. Or, contact an outreach center to donate for you.

Find out How to Pack a Blessing Bag (with a handy checklist) here!

Donate Food

Image: Challenge for Sustainablility, via challengeforsustainability.org
Image: Challenge for Sustainability, via challengeforsustainability.org

There are many places in your community to donate food. The food pantry, grocery store, fire department, community shelter, or other charitable organizations all maintain a food bank or accept food donations. Consider all of the things you have stashed in your pantry. Surely some items are dry and canned, that you haven’t used, and can be donated! Make sure none of the food is expired before you donate it. The same applies to other non-perishable packages. So, grab some unopened goods, that you have on hand right now, take three minutes to check your kitchen cabinets, drawers and pantry. Round up everything you’re not likely to consume in the near future and donate it!

Check out the Items Food Banks Need Most here!


Image: Small Business Trends, via smallbiztrends.com
Image: Small Business Trends, via smallbiztrends.com

These days there is always a new electronic that is all the rage and quickly outdates good, slightly used electronics. Donate used gadgets right in your own community. Art centers, youth centers, visitor centers, historical societies, or other groups can all use your old electronics. Computers, printers, modems, monitors, fax machines, televisions, telephones, or any similar electronics, that are still in good working condition, will be appreciated! Some centers will even except electronics such as game consoles.

So, stop hoarding or throwing your things away! There is always someone who needs what you’ve got! When you go through your closets, drawers and storage areas, it is far easier to fill up a giveaway box if you have already identified who will be receiving some of the items! Charities will provide you with a gift letter receipt suitable for including with your income tax returns (which means you benefit doubly).

To help get rid of your excess stuff, get a list of all of the groups in your community that except donations of household goods. Your local United Way often offers, and maintains, a roster of community groups including addresses and phone numbers or, search the web and see if you can come up with a list of your own.

Your turn! If you have any suggestions for donating goods in your community, let me know in the comments!  I’d love to hear what you’ve got!

More about Katelyn

Katelyn was inspired to create Dory Fitz when she realized she wanted to improve her life, and to help others improve their lives along the way. Taught by her grandmother that in all aspects of life, you need to embraced change, follow your passions, and live the life you want, no one will do it for you. Dory Fitz was created to help me, and you, do just that.

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