CFH is truly grateful to receive a steady stream of donations throughout the year. In addition to the thousands of meals provided by our volunteers, we regularly receive donations of dress shirts, towels, socks, computers, non-perishable food items, and much more. Many of these items help us to continue our mission of moving men out of homelessness by ensuring they are properly clothed and fed.
Donating items, however, can be a challenge. A small percentage of what is given to CFH ultimately gets redonated to Goodwill simply because we do not have a proper home for the item. Our needs definitely vary as seasons change, especially since the Emergency Winter Shelter currently only operates six months out of the year.
To help you make sure your donated items meet our needs, here are some points to consider:
Unfortunately, CFH has very little storage space, so items that can be used immediately are given top priority. Food such as cereal, sugar, and coffee are always in demand at the Day Center; our Year-Round Shelter program always needs deodorant, disposable razors, shampoo, and soap; and our Permanent Houses have a regular demand for toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning products.
Larger items, however, get tricky. A chair sounds great in theory for a man moving into a new place, but if we don’t have an immediate need, we ultimately cannot accept the chair.
We don’t want to sound like snobs, but CFH does prefer that items donated be new or gently used. A very worn-out pair of sneakers, for instance, will provide little use to a man long-term, and we’d like to provide our clients with sturdy items that will last. We also love receiving computers to use at our shelters and laptops to provide to our men, but they need to be new enough that we can keep them updated and secure.
Our Emergency Winter Shelter is currently only open for six months each year, so once this shelter closes, the demand for many items greatly decreases. However, the weeks before the emergency shelter closes are a great time to donate items the men might be able to use once they no longer have shelter (tents, backpacks, light sleeping bags, floss, duct tape).
When in doubt
Ask! We love to hear from our potential donors, so if you have something to donate, please feel free to contact us about our current needs.
Ask for a receipt! Your accountant will thank you.
– By Kerry Dirk