52 Holiday Wishes for DV Shelters

12-24-2015 9:52 AM

I love being home for the holidays. Baking with my kids. Decorating the house. Wrapping presents. Listening to Christmas music. I relish the scent of apple cinnamon cider, sugar cookies and banana bread. I don't even like to travel during this time. I just want to enjoy the comforts of home.

I can only imagine how lonely and strange it could feel to spend the holidays at a shelter. Even though some of our shelter offer the best of services. It's still not home.

So I asked shelters what they need most at this time of the year.

I got an overwhelming response. Here are 52 of the most-named items. That's one item for every week in the year!

  1. Cash donations. These will help cover anything from higher heating bills to transportation to additional staffing needed during holidays.
  2. Gift cards of all types -- gas, grocery, restaurant, department stores, movies, etc.
  3. Shampoo and conditioner
  4. Ethnic hair care products
  5. Soap (all kinds -- bath, liquid hand, laundry and dish)
  6. Dryer sheets
  7. Baby shampoo
  8. Deodorant
  9. Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  10. Feminine hygiene items
  11. Disposable razors
  12. Diapers and pull-ups of all sizes
  13. Baby wipes and diaper ointments
  14. Eyeglasses -- because theirs might have been broken
  15. Towels and wash cloths
  16. Bed linens and pillows (twin size was the most common requested -- but check with your local shelter to be sure)
  17. Flatware
  18. Cups
  19. Dishes
  20. Pots and pans
  21. Mixing bowls
  22. Trash bags
  23. Paper towels
  24. Toilet paper
  25. Tissues
  26. Napkins
  27. Cleaning products like Lysol, bleach, Pine Sol and other multi-purpose disinfectants
  28. Light bulbs
  29. Can openers
  30. Bandages
  31. Over-the-counter medicine for children and adults -- all kinds
  32. Thermometers
  33. Canned food
  34. Cookies are a welcome treat at the holidays!
  35. Cake mixes are nice to have on hand for birthdays.
  36. Specialty drink mixes like hot chocolate and apple cider.
  37. Perishables like ham and turkey -- just check with your shelter first to make sure nothing will go to waste.
  38. Crayons, markers, glue and craft supplies
  39. DVD players and non-violent DVDs
  40. Board games (rotating selections makes a big difference in a shelter)
  41. Books for kids
  42. School supplies like pencils, notebook paper and folders
  43. Furniture -- especially cribs, dressers, bed frames, etc.
  44. Underwear (new -- all sizes for women and children)
  45. Cold-weather clothing like hats, gloves, scarves and coats
  46. Shoes including boots, tennis shoes and slippers of all sizes for women and children
  47. Socks of all sizes
  48. Professional clothing for women heading back to work
  49. Pajamas for women and children
  50. Baby strollers
  51. Baby monitors
  52. Volunteers! To read or play games with children. Teach residents a new skill. Serve on the board.

Have you worked at a shelter? volunteered? been a resident? We'd love to have you add to our list! Let us know what your shelter needs!

Stacy Graves is contributing editor of The Mary Kay Foundation℠ blog and loves every minute of it! You can connect with her at stacy.graves@me.com, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest.