Season of Giving: The Stuff Charities Need Most Now

Posted on 12/19/2012

Now is a great time to make a charitable donation. Give before the end of the year and you'll take advantage of the tax write-off, plus you'll feel good knowing you helped others during this season of giving. Wondering what to donate? These are the four things charities need most right now.

Non-Perishable Food This time of year is especially tough for food banks. Needs increase and sometimes donations can't keep up. For instance, in Charlotte, North Carolina seasonal food donations have dropped by 30 percent which means the charity Loaves & Fishes is spending an extra $7,000 a week in order to meet winter food requests made by thousands of families. December is typically one of the busiest months for food banks around the country. Clear out your pantry and make a donation at a food bank near you.

Clothing and Household Items
Clear some clutter to make room for your new Christmas gifts. Give fresh life to items in your home that no longer get used by donating them to charity. Not sure who would want your old stuff? Check out, a free service that will help you find a charity in your community that will gladly accept your household items, clothing and shoes. The site will even help you schedule a pickup of your donated items.

December is the most popular month for donating to charities according to the Atlas of Giving. And most charities prefer cash than almost any other gift. But if you're planning on giving money it's best to give cash, write a check or use online bill pay. Credit card processing fees can cut out as much as 5 percent of your gift.

Blankets and Coats
Help keep a homeless person warm this winter by donating a blanket or coat. You can give your gift to an organization like Project Night Night that helps homeless children or simply donate to your local homeless shelter.

By Alison Storm

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