Where to donate this holiday season


Holiday donations

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Before you make your holiday to-do list and check it twice, think about the needs of your community and all the unused items cluttering your home. You can make a difference by donating these items to organizations in need. It’s a win-win situation, because while you’re helping others, you’ll clear out your home in preparation for holiday guests. Learn what to donate and where, then start spreading some holiday cheer.


Donate food

Make room for all of the yummy holiday goodies by donating your nonperishable foods. Here are the top items on most food banks’ wish lists. 

  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Canned stews and soups
  • Canned beans
  • Canned tuna
  • Pasta and sauce
  • Baby food
  • Dry beans
  • Flour
  • Cereal and oatmeal
  • Juice
  • Rice 
  • Peanut butter or other nut butters 
  • Jellies and jams 

Where to donate 

Find your local food bank. Check with your local fire department, churches, synagogues, schools and grocery stores to see if they are hosting food pantry donation drives.

Move for Hunger is a nonprofit organization that will connect you with a local moving company that will deliver your nonperishable food donations to your local food bank for you. Check out their Find A Mover tool.

If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves, you can start your own food drive. Ask local businesses, schools and libraries to put out your colorfully decorated food drive donation boxes and use your social networks to spread the word.


Donate clothes

Empty some closet space to fit your newest holiday sweaters. Donate clothing for all ages, coats, suits, belts, scarves, ties, pocketbooks, boots and shoes. 

Where to donate

Drop your clothes off at Goodwill, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America or any other charitable organization in your community. Call around to see which organizations accept gently used clothes. Some will even pick up the donations.


Donate toys

Get your kids involved by having them sort through their toys and set aside ones they would like to donate. This teaches them the ultimate gift of giving. Donate toys, stuffed animals, coloring books, crayons, school supplies, stationery, hand-held games and books.

Where to donate

Donate to Toys for Tots, local children’s hospitals, a local Ronald McDonald House, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, local shelters or any other organization accepting these items. Some charities only accept new toys, so check with an organization before donating.


Donate household goods

Help those in need and declutter at the same time. Donate just about anything around the house that’s in good shape, including antiques, small appliances, artwork, cookware, decorative items, gently used furniture and sporting goods.

Where to donate 

Habitat Humanity ReStore, Goodwill, Salvation Army, veteran organizations and other nonprofits will accept these items.


Donate cell phones

Clear the data first, then visit sites like cellphonesforsoldiers.com and 911cellphonebank.org, where you can donate your old smartphone to someone who needs it. Some local shelters might accept old phones too.


Donate gift cards

Do you have gift cards you haven’t gotten around to spending? You can exchange your gift cards for charity donations at charitygiftcertificates.org. You will receive a tax receipt for the full value or residual balance on the card. 

Once you have cleared the clutter and given to those who will actually use and need your unwanted items, then it’s just like they say in Whoville — your heart will grow three sizes and the true meaning of the holidays will come through, plus two.


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This article was written by Laura McHolm with NorthStar Moving Company for Angie’s List.