The Mission of Hope has been busier than ever lately; even busier than after last year’s flood, and that’s really saying something. Supply is short and needs are long. What? What’s that you said? “Really, Dory, I had no idea! How can I help?”
I’m glad you asked!
Well, ok, you didn’t, but that’s never stopped me from shooting off my mouth before, now, has it?
Here it is:
The Top Ten Items to Donate to Mission of Hope or YOUR Local Mission
Those hotel-sized shampoos, conditioners, and soaps are great. Also needed: toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, feminine hygiene items, wash cloths, and towels.
9. Cleaning supplies
You would not even believe how much glass cleaner, dishwashing detergent, toilet bowl cleaner, and anti-bacterial soap we go through. We give out cleaning supplies for needy people and also cleaning kits specially put together for flood victims.
8. Used jeans, t-shirts, and sweatshirts
Many transient men pick up odd jobs in the building trades and need decent attire for the job site.
7. NEW underwear and socks
Um, yeah, how would you like to wear somebody else’s underwear and socks? I thought so.
6. Outdoor wear
There is a huge need for heavy winter coats, gloves, and mittens. Also sorely needed are work gloves that can be worn by men on a construction job site.
I don’t know about your local mission, but we have tons of people requesting mattress pads, sheets, blankets, pillow cases and pillows. We also give out heavy blankets to homeless who, for whatever reason, don’t/won’t go to shelters and instead they sleep under a bridge or in a parking garage.
4. Used appliances and furniture
Call your Mission and tell them what you have, and they will find a very needy and very appreciative individual who considers it a direct answer to prayer. To you, it’s a five year old stove; to them, it’s a gift from God.
Items with a long shelf life are always appreciated. Think canned, jarred, frozen… it helps the staff put odd items together to make a meal, like the spaghetti noodles they got in today and the sauce they got a case of a couple weeks ago. Also, if it’s going to be given away in the food pantry, it’s easier to store and distribute. Single serving portions are simpler to give out, like a box of lunchbox sized bags of chips rather than a big family size bag of Doritos. Yeah, sure, the big bag is the better buy per ounce, but then somebody has to put them in little snack size zippy bags which is very time-consuming.
2. Miscellaneous– Call and ask!
Each Mission is going to be a little different in their needs. For instance, our Mission concentrates on providing men’s clothes, not women’s. If women’s clothes are donated, of course we do not throw them away; they are re-donated somewhere else such as the domestic violence shelter. We appreciate any donations at all, but we are extra thankful for items fulfilling our area of need. Hear me now and believe me later, word gets around on the street as to where to go to get what you need.
Just another example: our Mission serves a noon meal Tuesday through Friday, and we are always in need of a large volume of one food item (rather than a box of cans of all different kinds of food) so we can serve the same lunch to all the people who show up for lunch. If we get in a bunch of hams, a few boxes of velveeta, and several bags of potatoes, WAHLAH it’s time for Ham & Scalloped Potatoes for 140 people. And (bonus plan baby!) it’s a huge load off the mind of whoever has the task of trying to figure out what they’re going to serve a whole bunch of people the next day.
1. Perhaps most important– YOUR TIME
Somebody has to do it, it might as well be you! Somebody has to sort the donated items and put them away, make the sandwiches and serve them, sweep and vacuum, wash the dishes, clean out the refrigerator and shelves… there is literally NO END to the work that needs to be done. Your mission is probably short-staffed due to a tight budget existing only on donations. Volunteers are NECESSARY to stay open.
YOU can make a difference. Yes, YOU! And you won’t believe how great it feels.