In honor of the Siena Her Campus Women’s Drive, I created a handy list of necessities that you can donate to your local women’s shelter.
Just remember that the items should be new or gently used, and that you are donating to a place that has a reputable reputation.
This one is an obvious one. Clothes are essential for everyone. Make sure they’re gently used and washed before delivering them to a shelter. Most shelters take children’s clothes in a variety of sizes, as many women flee a situation with their young children. Donate clothes in different sizes – and remember that casual clothing is just as important as business wear!
- Transportation Cards
Many women do not have a car or someone to drive them to work, school, daycare, etc. A bus pass or a metro card, depending on your city, will be a major help to women struggling to get on their feet once they have left their situation.
- Hair Products
Most shelters provide basic shampoos made for Caucasian hair – but not everyone is Caucasian! Everyone has different hair types and preferences for their products. Donate some shea butter, kids’ detangler, or sulfate free shampoos, alongside drugstore brand products.
- Books, Board Games, Notebooks, Puzzles, Crochet Needles, Jewelry Making Supplies, etc.
Everyone needs something to pass the time, no matter who you are or your interests. Gift some books you have lying around – no matter if they’re children’s books or sappy romances. Board games and puzzles engage most people, and notebooks are great for anyone who needs it for their studies. Crochet needles, skeins of yarn, and jewelry making supplies are great for anyone who has a creative itch and needs to pass the time.
- Feminine Hygiene Products.
Well…duh. Most women have a period, and unfortunately women in a shelter probably do not have enough money to pay for pads and tampons (because the government says pads and tampons are a luxury…to have uncomfortable wads of cotton that soak up your blood. Makes perfect sense!) Pads and tampons and everything in between are in desperate need at women’s shelters – it’s a necessity that will not be wasted.
- Gift Cards
Gift Cards to anywhere. Target. Walmart. Bath & Body Works. Price Chopper. CVS. Rite Aid. Uber. It may seem impersonal, but if someone needs groceries or clothes or need to pay a prescription copay, they’ll be so thankful for the ability to do so.
- Blankets and Linens
Blankets, bed sheets, towels, bathrobes – all will come in handy. They should be new and come in a variety of sizes for twin, full, and queens beds. Bathrobes and towels should be in different sizes ranging from toddler to adult, and new.
- Baby Products
Diapers, wipes, strollers, collapsible cribs, newborn clothing, formula, play mats, toys, baby carriers, etc. The needs of a baby do not stop because the mother has left her situation. She’ll need all the help she can get, and may not be able to afford to care for her baby properly.
- Weighted Blankets, Stress Balls, and Stim Toys
Leaving a bad situation – even for the better – is stressful for anyone. Furthermore, many people with mental illnesses and learning disabilities need a way to expel stress and stim to prevent themselves from being overwhelmed. It may not seem like a lot, but to those who need those items it will help a great deal.
- Muslim Garb
Most people probably would not even think of this. But items such as a hijab head covering, niqab face covering, and an abaya over garment for always a must in shelters. Furthermore, prayer mats are always needed as well.
- Wheelchairs, Canes, Walkers, Step Stools, Limb Braces, Shower Chairs, Crutches, etc.
Chronic conditions do not stop because someone is in a women’s shelter. There is a massive need for such items, but people do not think to bring them. It would help women or children in bad situations gain some independence and freedom.
There are certainly more items, products, and the likes to be donated to women’s shelters, but these are the main ones. A quick Google search should show you where to find your local women’s shelter. Remember that some shelters keep their address private to protect their women from their abusers.
Any donations would be gladly appreciated in your area. Websites like DomesticShelters.org and WomensShelters.org are great resources to find local shelters and their wishlists.
And Her Campus Siena’s Women’s Drive runs from November 6 to November 20! Donation boxes will be set up in the SSU, the MAC, and 4th floor of Siena Hall, as well as two basketball games!