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When most people think of making donations to those in need, they think of canned food and used clothing. These items are usually the focus of many donations and charities, but individuals who lack a stable home environment need much more than clothing and food. It would be invaluable for donors to become more attentive if they truly want to make a helpful impact.

Homeless individuals lack essential items that are commonly forgotten. They struggle to stay clean and take showers in public bathrooms. Shampoo and body wash are often unavailable and rarely donated. This is also true for dental supplies like toothbrushes and toothpaste. It’s difficult for shelter inhabitants to maintain their hygiene and health, especially without any medical insurance or support. Donating basic toiletries will significantly improve the quality of life for those in need.

A first aid kit is essential in every home. Without a home, a first aid kit is not easily available. A lack of sufficient medical care and a safe home environment generate the need for medical supplies and first aid kits. Donating these items is extremely considerate for anyone who’s living in a shelter.

For those stuck on the streets during the winter, blankets are a necessity that’s unfortunately overlooked. Even though clothing is an over-donated item, certain articles of clothing are under-donated, such as underwear and socks. That’s also true for non-reusable items such as diapers. A small purchase can make a world of difference in someone’s life.

People living in homeless shelters may require transportation. In order to maintain employment, they need adequate travel transportation avenues. When simple transportation items such as bicycles are donated, needy individuals are given a better chance at having a bright future.

To make a more impactful difference in the lives of the homeless, donors should familiarize themselves with their true needs. Making a difference stems first from empathy.  So please engage, understand, then act. It can make a world of difference.