Please consider these important guidelines when you are thinking about making a donation to help various individuals and organizations:
Making Financial Donations
Voluntary relief agencies use cash to meet needs more quickly. Many voluntary relief organizations have pre-existing relationships with major providers of disaster materials and supplies, and can leverage extremely good discounts, so donated dollars actually go further than if individuals purchase them.
In addition, cash donations can help to avoid the labor and expense of sorting, packing, transporting and distributing donated goods. Sometimes, unsolicited donations can create storage and transportation problems for those organizations that are already storing necessary supplies.
When making an in-kind donation, you should consider the following guidelines:
- Donate through an experienced organization:
Be familiar with the organization that you are assisting. Work with voluntary and community organizations with a known track record. To prevent waste, donated goods should be made to agencies that have requested specific items or that have undertaken a specific food drive, clothing drive or other campaign.
- Confirm the need before collecting:
Donors should be wary of anyone who claims that "everything" is needed. Many groups have been disappointed that their efforts and the goods they collected were not appreciated. Get precise information before collecting donated goods.
Donating Clothing and Household Items
Gently used clothing, shoes, small household items can help families across the Commonwealth in a variety of ways. The following national organizations have several local chapters and drop-off boxes, and others will pick up large donations from your home.
- Salvation Army (617) 542-5420 www.salvationarmy-ma.org
- Big Brother Big Sister Foundation www.bbbsfoundation.org/
- American Red Cross (617) 375-0700 www.bostonredcross.org
- United Way (Several MA Chapters) www.liveunited.org/
- Goodwill www.goodwillmass.org
- Information on
Guidelines and Additional Resources on <strong>Donation and Reuse</strong> from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection:
Donating to Regional Food Banks
Regional food banks do accept food donations, but please check their guidelines for the types of food they can store and distribute before donating. The food will be distributed to a network of member feeding programs including soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters.
- Greater Boston Food Bank: www.gbfb.org, 617-427-5200
- Worcester County Food Bank: www.foodbank.org, 508-842-3663
- The Food Bank of Western MA: www.foodbankwma.org, 413-247-9738
- Merrimack Valley Food Bank (Lowell): www.mvfb.org, 978-454-7272