A box being filled with clothing donations.
News + Advocacy

Community Donations For The Fall Season

Fall/Autumn is enjoyed by many because it’s frequently seen as a time of personal transformation, renewal and abundance; a time to celebrate growth and a season of giving. As the weather gets harsher, and we prepare for Winter; this is the ideal time to make sure everyone in our communities has access to basic necessities that support their health and well-being.

Donating to family and refugee centres, shelters and food banks (all year round) represents one of the numerous ways we can show up for our community; supporting those experiencing homelessness, financial struggles and/or food insecurity. There are a variety of items, especially during the upcoming colder months, that charities and community-based organizations urgently need …


While shelters and food banks distribute supplies for free; don’t forget to contribute to local thrift stores as they help create accessible price points for various everyday products. Instead of throwing away outgrown or unwanted belongings that are gently used or in good condition, gift them to places that can make use of them.

If you want to give back this Autumn, here are a list of essential items to donate this Fall:

Important note: this list is by no means comprehensive; before you donate to a particular place, contact them to find out exactly what their requirements are.

Warm Clothing

  • coats, sweaters, hoodies and pants (trousers)
  • gloves, scarves and hats
  • boots and other Winter shoes
  • underwear and socks — check requirements as some places will only accept unused/unopened pieces
  • onesies, t-shirts and other baby/infant/toddler clothing


  • blankets
  • bed sheets, comforter (duvet) and pillowcases
  • curtains and drapes
  • small electrical items; microwaves, toasters, kettles, coffee machines
A group of food bank/shelter volunteers fill boxes with donations. Photo by RODNAE Productions via Pexels.
photo via RODNAE Productions/Pexels


  • wash cloths, towels, facial tissue and toilet paper
  • toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • deodorant, body wash, shampoo, hand soap, hand sanitizer, razors and shaving cream
  • combs, hairbrushes and nail care
  • feminine products; sanitary towels and tampons
  • baby/infant diapers, wipes, sippy cups, feeding supplies
  • laundry detergent

Non-Perishable Food

  • canned items; fruit, fruit juice, vegetables, beans, soup, meat and fish
  • beef, chicken and vegetable stock
  • peanut butter and jelly (jam)
  • rolled oats, pasta, pasta sauce and rice

Eliminating barriers to basic staples that look after health, hygiene and well-being remains a vital step towards establishing a society based on equity. Recognizing everyone’s humanity, regardless of their circumstances is the kind of world we should all invest in. Donations represent an encouraging start, but this doesn’t address the causes of financial insecurity.

Poverty in the U.S., for example, is the result of multifactorial issues and contradictory policies. While anti-poverty programs like low-income tax credits, unemployment insurance, Social Security and nutrition assistance has achieved a positive impact; the pandemic exposed how much more needs to be done to lift people out of hardship. It also showed how a sudden change in circumstances, like losing a job or a significant health issue, can be an immediate tipping point into scarcity for millions of people that takes far longer to get out of than it does to fall into it.

A volunteer fills clear plastic boxes with canned food at a donation centre. Photo by Julia M. Cameron via Pexels.
photo via Julia M. Cameron/Pexels

The first step in tackling poverty in the USA has to be modernizing how it’s measured, making sure it reflects current living costs and needs in 2021. The official measure that the government uses, for example, is based on analysis from 1963 that used subsistence food budget data from 1955. Times have changed. How can you possibly address levels of poverty if the specific threshold that determines it is woefully inaccurate?

Once a reliable understanding of the levels of financial insecurity is established; policymakers can realistically identify what it will take to reduce poverty and overcome its oftentimes engulfing distress and adversity. With factual data at hand, it will likely show that safety net programs need to be expanded or overhauled; job creation needs to include economic stability through pay equality and an increased minimum wage; not to mention investments that broaden access to health care and affordable housing, plus the introduction of permanent paid family and medical leave — to name a few possibilities.

There is so much we can do to support each other through the colder months — and life’s challenges — donation drives and fighting for system change that benefits all those in need is an essential way to celebrate everyone’s innate value.

What other items are good to donate during the Fall and Winter? Do you know of any great charities/organizations that provide support within your community (share them in a comment)?   

Further Info:

The Big Drop In American Poverty During The Pandemic, Explained – Vox

Inequalities In Housing Hardship Declined Because Everybody Is Now Worse Off – Brookings

48 thoughts on “Community Donations For The Fall Season”

  1. Awesome post! Giving back is wonderful. The government uses data from the 50’s and 60’s in regards to what we need for food an such? No wonder we all struggle so badly


    1. It is beyond me why the U.S. government still uses outdated and irrelevant decades old data to determine what the poverty level is — it simply does not reflect current needs at all. I hope it changes soon so that all our communities can be better supported. Thanks so much for reading!


  2. This is such an important post and good reminder to think of those less fortunate as we head into the holiday gifting season. Some of the ways I like to help is monthly giving to my local food bank and to donate gently used clothing from all of our closets. Thanks for sharing.


    1. The season of giving is a great reminder to sort through all the things we may no longer need or have left unused — we can make great use of those through donations and help support in our community. It’s so great that you help support your local food bank, etc. it’s much needed!


  3. With World Kindness Day coming up soon (13 November) this post couldn’t be better timed. This is so thoughtful of you, and it’s reminded me I need to crack on with my sorting out for our local charities, thank you.


  4. Giving back is so important. There are several organizations close to home that I donate to on a regular basis. Whether it’s clothing or picking up extra non-perishable food items at the store, a little bit goes a long way. Thank you for this post and for this important reminder that we should always see if our items can be donated rather than thrown out.


  5. Such an important topic and well writen.

    I regularly donate to charity and our local food banks. But finding out information on who needs what items is essential.

    I organised to take our old large baby items to a baby bank but had to make an appointment and travel about 45 minutes away. Worth it to know it went to the right place, but the key is getting information out there on what people can do to help.

    Sharing this post now.


    1. It is so great to hear that you take the time to make such needed donations — someone in your community will really benefit from what you give and that is a great way to support those around you. We’re all in this life together so we may as well give what we can, when we can. Thank you for sharing this post, I really appreciate you helping to get the word out!


  6. Great post. I like how you covered items that people don’t always think of. There is a local Goodwill location not that far for me. I am working on getting things together to donate.


  7. Hi Molly,

    It’s amazing (and sad at the same time) just how much difference even the most basic items can make to those in need. Not only that, but allowing others to re-use items that you no longer want or need is better for the planet than buying new ones.


    1. It’s a great way to help people and protect the environment by reducing/recycling what we would normally throw away. It is sad that we still live in times where this kind of assistance is needed but at least there are many people who will step up.


  8. What a wonderful post! It’s a fantastic reminder to us all. Every year I help to organise a few collections in our workplace to distribute here in Dubai. Obviously all year round is important, but I think people are more mindful this time of year.


    1. I agree 100% — it’s something we can/should do all year round but this season is a great time to remind people to help out as it’s often in focus during these coming months. Your workplace collection is a brilliant idea — I’m sure this helps out the community a lot.


  9. This is a great reminder to give back to our communities especially this winter and during these difficult times. I’m definitely looking up my local shelter.


  10. What a wonderful post and a wonderful reminder that we need to give this season, more than ever. That means giving to the less fortunate. My husband and I often clear out and give warm clothing/items to the local animal shelters to help house strays this time of year.


  11. That is shocking to hear how outdated the government’s measurements are for poverty and support. 1963 and 1955?! I’m mind blown at that.

    I can’t stress enough how much socks are needed at homeless shelters at any time of the year, but especially fall/winter. We are constantly in need of them where I work. Also, if there are any outreach services that people know of in their area, things like tarps and tents could be essential donations for the workers to give out.


    1. Right?! The measure of poverty, and therefore the assistance that comes from that, is based on a world we no longer exist in. It doesn’t reflect today’s needs at all and leaves so many more millions struggling.

      I 100% agree about the socks too — no matter what time of year we donate, always included lots of socks.

      Thanks for the input about tarps and tents, that is a really great suggestion and I will add it to the post with a shoutout/link.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post! Really interesting to read about what one can donate, not sure if the same applies in my country, definitely worth a search! I do donate, but most is clothes (I put those in the Red Cross containers that are dotted here and there). I don’t need them anymore but I am sure there is someone who could use them again. 🙂 Oh, and there is the yearly supermarket does a food collection, which means that while you do groceries you get some extra food (there is a list of what they need) and give that to the organisation waiting at the beginning of the supermarket. Love doing that as well! But I should really search what more I can do!


    1. I hope when you look into what is in your area that you find some new ways to donate and give back to your community. The grocery store collection is a great idea (we have that too) as you don’t have to make an extra trip anywhere as you can just do it while you’re shopping. Thanks for reading!


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