Women’s shelters are places in which women can seek refuge from domestic violence. It is not a pleasant topic to discuss, but it is an important one.
Women that go through this trauma are all too often left in a situation where they are unable to support themselves or their children, if they have any. They are left without shelter or resources during a very difficult time in their lives. That’s where the women’s shelters come in.
Also known as battered women’s shelters or women’s refuge shelters, the spaces are more than just typical homeless shelters. They act as places of refuge, solace, and safety when a woman needs it the very most.
These shelters get funding from the government and nonprofits, but they also need your help. A huge amount of their supplies come from donations from folks like you looking to make even a small difference in someone else’s life. Remember that there are tons of ways to help others in the world, and donating is one of the easiest and most efficient methods of doing so.
These 12 items are desperately needed in women’s shelters across the country (and the world), and I bet that you already have most (if not all) of them in your home.
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Make sure you thoroughly wash your gently used bras before donating them, and make sure that they are in good condition. Bras that you simply don’t wear very often or just don’t like anymore are good contenders for donation, but your favorite bra that you bought three years ago has probably seen some better days. It should be noted that some women’s shelters will only accept brand new bras, so check in with your local establishment.
2. Nail Polish
This may seem like a nonessential thing in life, comparatively. However, think about the women who are hustling to get a job, going on interviews with bare nails. The small boost of confidence that comes from feeling put-together and professional can go a long way in a job interview. Nail polish and manicure materials are greatly appreciated by women’s shelters.
3. Art Materials
Life can get dull and depressing without a creative outlet. Art supplies, even just a simple set of watercolors and paper, can go a very long way at your local women’s shelter. Plus, these women are likely in a bad place emotionally, and being creative can help sort out those feelings.
Many women in women’s shelters are also mothers and are in desperate need of diapers and wet wipes for their babies. All moms know how ridiculously expensive that kind of stuff can be, and it’s not like they are an optional investment.
From children’s books to the hefty classics, women’s shelters need your gently used books. Reading is so important, no matter what age, and there’s no telling what kind of huge difference you could make with the gift of literature.
6. Feminine Hygiene Products
For those of us that always have a multiple-box stash of tampons, pads, and pantyliners, it’s hard to imagine that time of the month without feminine hygiene products. Yet, so many women across our own country have to go without them. Tampons and pads, as well as the feeling of cleanliness and civility that comes with them, should be a basic human right. It’s not too hard to pick up an extra box when you’re at the store to donate to women in need.
7. Cell Phones
Shelters may be able to activate your old cell phones for women in the shelter to use as a callback number for job interviews or for other emergencies. Even if not, cellphones can be sold for money to buy other odds and ends that the shelter needs to keep up and running.
8. Transportation Passes
If you live in a city, you can donate train or bus passes that can be used to get around while keeping appointments and going on job interviews. If you live in an area with little public transit, a gas card can be very helpful too. A woman won’t be able to get back up on her feet if she has no way of getting around.
Purses and wallets are something of a status symbol, and those who rely on women’s shelters might need to upgrade theirs to be successful in job interviews, or they might not have one at all.
10. Cosmetics And Beauty Products
Look, I know that the vast majority of us have a whole heaping pile of lotions, eye shadows, lipsticks, and other beauty products that we’ve never even touched, or only touched once or twice. As long as they are clean, donate your unwanted cosmetics to a woman’s shelter to help a woman in need feel beautiful again. Put yourself in her position and think of how a simple facial moisturizer can help boost the mood and make a fellow human feel, well, human.
11. Tickets To Something Fun
Someone who resides in a women’s shelter is forced to use her money frugally, which leaves her and her family unable to enjoy so many of the things that we take for granted. Many women’s shelters will accept tickets to the movies, a concert, museum passes, or other donations that will give the gift of happiness to a group of women who could really use it.
12. Birthday Gifts
There are many shelters and organizations out there that help brighten birthdays for women in need. You can give gift cards to restaurants, a nice blanket or bathrobe, a personal stereo, or anything else that you think might make a birthday happier for someone in a shelter.