At this time of Thanksgiving, it is important to show thanks for our blessings. This is a wonderful opportunity to support local homeless shelters. Some people have never required a food bank or homeless shelter, but in times of economic downturn many new families rely upon these services. Such is the case in Michigan.
Michigan has many homeless shelters. The list searchable by city is available here. It is an excellent resource for corporations, grant committees, and unions to find a local food bank or homeless shelter to support. Likewise, the list can also be beneficial if you know of a friend or relative in need of housing or food. It is important to call ahead, however, as many of the locations have waiting lists.
Donations to a local homeless shelter can take many forms. Of course, monetary donations are always welcome because then the shelter has the opportunity to purchase what is most needed.
Otherwise, gifts of furniture, extra bedding, and other items not being used usually make great donations. A great use for the free samples of soap and/or shampoo from hotel visits is to donate them to others who cannot afford such luxuries. Taking in unsold items from a garage sale or rummage sale keeps a house from getting cluttered. Plus, the donations make excellent tax deductions if a person is able to itemize (use Schedule A) on a tax return.
Some homeless shelters are more specialized and require particular donations. For example, those that house pregnant teens may want maternity clothing and baby items. Battered women shelters would not necessarily require men's clothing. Teen runaways would not require older people's clothing styles. In other words, keep in mind the destination of a donation before grouping it all together.
Of course, food items are appreciated at food banks and homeless shelters. The best way I have found to purchase food for donating to a homeless shelter are various stores' "Super Saturday Sales" or other bargains. For example, last week a local store called Meijer offered $16 off a 17-pound turkey with an additional $20 purchase. The 17-pound bird wound up costing less than $5. What a great bargain and a great way to get a turkey into the hands of a homeless shelter for Thanksgiving!
As Thanksgiving approaches, remember that it is often good to count our blessings year around and not just once or twice a year. People are in need at all times of year, not just at Thanksgiving. However, using this holiday season to share our extras with those less fortunate really makes sense and benefits those in your community.
Do you make donations to a local homeless shelter? How do you go about it? Please comment below.
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