A year ago, I ran a list of organizations accepting donations of household goods and clothes, and it struck a chord. (It was one of the best-read newsletters of the year! Who knew?) So, by popular demand, here’s an updated roster — with some new additions and ways to get your kids involved, too, especially if you’re looking for ways to occupy everyone during vacation week.
These groups are wonderful, whether you need help or are in a position to give it. If you’re donating, remember: Never give anything away that you wouldn’t want to receive yourself. Each recipient deserves clean, functional items.
Catie’s Closet is a Dracut-based organization that supports students living in poverty. They turn unused areas inside schools into discreet spaces where kids can shop for free clothing, toiletries, and other basics. They need new and gently used clothing, with drop-off spots in Boston and Dracut. They’re also looking for social-media-savvy teens to spread their mission as influencers, so put that scrolling to good use. www.catiescloset.org
Circle of Hope in Needham distributes baby items, bedding, hygiene products, and clothes to 25 shelters and clinics throughout the Boston area. They appreciate gently used maternity clothes, baby clothes, athleticwear, and outerwear — and offer support in organizing your very own collection drive with a group. www.circleofhopeonline.org
Cradles to Crayons provides customized essentials to kids in need. Volunteers at their Giving Factory create “KidPacks” that are tailored to a specific child’s needs and requests. Donate new and like-new items for infants all the way up to age 12 at bins throughout the region. They especially need winter coats, new pajamas, and new and reusable face masks, as well as shoes, board books, and kids’ clothing. www.cradlestocrayons.org
Dignity Matters in Framingham needs personal products for low-income women and girls, such as menstrual products, underwear, and bras. They have bins throughout Greater Boston, primarily in Metrowest. www.dignity-matters.org
Doing Good Together connects families with fun volunteer opportunities tailored to specific interests around the Boston area — animals, holidays, environmental justice, et cetera. They update their calendar each month. www.doinggoodtogether.org
HELPIS Helpers links volunteers with people in need in real time, by posting requests on social media. They also share inspirational stories and photos — it’s hugely moving to see it all unfold. Recently, they’ve distributed teddy bears at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, new clothes for an after-care group devoted to at-risk kids, and grocery cards for a newly widowed mom. www.helpis.org
HopeWell in Dedham supports nearly 1,000 kids in foster care each year, as well as young adults transitioning out of care without the safety net of a permanent family. Their My First Place program provides housing, life-skills training, financial literacy classes, and more. They need Charlie cards and gift cards to spots like Amazon and Target, as well as other donations. www.hopewellinc.org
Keeping Pace With Multiple Miracles is a boutique and support group for parents with multiple children that accepts gently used clothing, toys, and baby equipment at their West Bridgewater headquarters. www.keepingpace.org
NuDay Syria collects donations of basic items to support displaced families in Syria, as well as vulnerable families and refugees in other parts of the world. They really need bedding, non-perishable food, new and like-new clothing, shoes, winter apparel, stuffed toys, and more. There are several collection points across New England. Make sure to pre-sort and label your items. www.nudaysyria.org
Room to Grow distributes customized baby bundles to low-income families who also work with clinicians for parenting support and strategies. They really need new or good-condition items for newborns and toddlers: exer-saucers, toys, tubs, potties, play mats, and room décor. Schedule a drop-off at their Hyde Park warehouse. www.roomtogrow.org
Rosie’s Place in Boston, a community center for women, encourages families to compile care packages stocked with unused items such as toiletries, sanitizers, and gift cards. Schedule or ship your gift. www.rosiesplace.org
Savers is a thrift retailer with locations throughout Massachusetts. Their motto resonates for me: “Declutter responsibly.” They accept donations of secondhand clothing, household goods, and toys on behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation New England. Note: They’re also one of the few spots that accept previously loved (but good-condition) stuffed animals. www.savers.com
Second Chances provides hundreds of homeless people in Cambridge, Somerville, and beyond with clothing and accessories — and they need all kinds, from costume jewelry to belts and aprons. They especially need larger-size women’s clothing. www.secondchances.org
SPUR is a platform for volunteers throughout the North Shore: Think of it as a matchmaking service for helping. Visit their site to find local beach clean-ups, backpack and toiletry drives, meal programs, and more. It’s a handy way to engage your kids in volunteerism, too. spur.community
The Somerville Homeless Coalition maintains an ongoing list of needs for clients who live outside, ranging from hats and gloves to travel-size toiletries. They also need food staples like rice and pasta. www.somervillehomelesscoalition.org
The Wish Project provides immediate assistance to homeless families and victims of fires or other disasters. They have a lengthy and precise list of needed items. Donate appliances, furniture, mattresses, baby clothes and gear, toys, toiletries, and more. They also accept volunteers (15 and up) at their warehouse, based in North Chelmsford. www.thewishproject.org
Kara Baskin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.