For many, the holiday season means giving back — whether that’s through donating food, cash or time.
Some of us even clear out closets and toy rooms to make space for the gifts to come. This season some local non-profits share do’s and don’ts before you donate.
Giving trees, bell ringers and toy drives all go to helping people in need, but there is such a thing as a bad donation.
“If your clothing has stains or holes, we’re unable to use it,” said Meghan von Behren, executive director at YWCA.
The YWCA works with women and children who have left their home, and sometimes all of their belongings.
“We just like to provide our women with dignity, and provide them with clothing and items that are going to make them feel good and make them feel like they’re part of the community, not that they’re part of the homeless community,” von Behren said.
Another example of a bad donation can be toys.
Playing Sorry or Candy Land without all of the pieces can ruin a game, or a book that is missing pages may be hard to get the full story.
“If you would look at it and consider it junk, then we would consider it junk too,” said John Woodard, Captain of Minot’s Salvation Army.
Woodard has some advice on what used items are good.
“Something that is ‘gently used.’ And that means it’s not, you know, garbage,” Woodard said. “And people usually are pretty good, especially here in Minot I can see that most of the time, people really understand what that means.”
Small charities don’t have the staff or hours to spend sifting through items they can’t use.
So, as you go to give back, make sure your donations are in good shape, so they’re a blessing, not a burden.
Another tip — make sure when you donate food it isn’t expired.