Christmas-Helping Others Even When Money is Tight

This list is from 2010. Please be sure to check each one first before you drop off items.

Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. Luke 6:38 (NRSVA)

Even if things are “tight” there are lots of free or low cost ways we can help others.  Here are lots of places to donate items you don’t want that others really need or check out these below.



ANIMAL RESCUE-  click to help raises funds via advertisers, and you can click a button daily to generate a donation to help feed shelter animals

  • FREE KIBBLE (AND/OR CAT FOOD) is given to animal shelters to play a game, and to help feed needy animals.

(See also under sheets, towels and blankets for items you can donate to the shelters.) ______________________________________________________________




Mend Crisis Pregnancy Center

Homeless shelters and Women’s shelters need supplies for infants and children―from diapers (clean) to strollers, baby books and used clothing, etc (Cribs and playpens should comply with all federal and voluntary safety standards.) Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website,      (Domestic Violence Intervention Services- DVIS- has on the bottom of their receipt that they give their extras to Goodwill.)


(PROJECT WARMTH)-. LaMode cleaners, in the Tulsa area mends and cleans blankets, quilts and comforters that are collected and sends them to social agencies. (Usually January)

BOOKS you have can be donated to:

  • local libraries, which may sell them at their fundraisers or put them into circulation.
  • Schools- teachers often need books for their classrooms.
  • books and magazines–nursing homes and hospitals welcome them. They are read by visitors as well.
  • BOOKS FOR KIDS- help your state get 20,000 new books for local kids  Click on Cheerios® 100,000 Book Giveaway- the five states receiving the highest number of votes will each receive 20,000 new books for local kids – and we need your help to decide where the books should be donated! Cheerios® and First Book® Challenge

BOXTOPS for education! Over $300 million already earned for childrens education!


BUILDING SUPPLIES   Habitat for Humanity Restore resells the times you donate. (When you remodel think about donating your lighting fixtures, stove, sinks, etc.)

“The butterfly effect”. Doing something very small can have a far-reaching ripple effect that could ultimately lead to large-scale alterations of events. 



CELL PHONES can be recycled as emergency lifelines or converted to phone cards for our troops overseas.

Any working mobile phone can dial a 911 call center (an FCC requirement) even without a wireless service plan..  Your donated cell phone  can be recycled as emergency lifelines for:

  • senior centers
  • senior citizens living alone, who are especially vulnerable to accidents or those with disabilities and limited incomes, who are especially vulnerable to elder abuse (physical abuse, assault, exploitation, or neglect.)
  • women’s shelters – an important emergency link as donated cell phones could save a life by enabling victims of domestic violence with instant access to emergency services



  • Domestic-violence shelters and relief programs- Verizon Wireless stores collects, refurbishes and sells them donating the money or used to buy airtime and phones for victims.
  • SOLDIERS OVERSEAS-Blue Star Mothers andLiberty Tax service sell them to purchase phone cards for soldiers overseas!

CHILDREN IN NEED    (your click today sponsors one child in need. Come back tomorrow to click again) Children International



Those of us who have been out on our own for a few years realize how quickly we accumulate Christmas decorations and really don’t use all of them but they can be a real blessing to those who don’t have much.



John 3:16 Mission will take bags of clothes. Those who do not have anything don’t care if the shirt they are given is the latest style.


COATS FOR KIDS  is really for anyone who needs a coat. The late Jim Giles started ours in Tulsa. A local dry cleaners cleans them and the coats are distributed by several agencies.  (Usually November)

Find one in other areas

COMPUTER Local schools, after-school programs, and homeless shelters (especially those with children) might like to have them. people with special needs, students at risk, and the economically disadvantaged to public schools and community nonprofits and for kids in developing countries. YOUR OLD COMPUTER 

  • Helping Tulsa (founder Don Singleton)
  • Local schools, after-school programs, and homeless shelters (especially those with children) might like to have them.
  • For people with special needs, students at risk, and the economically disadvantaged  National Cristina Foundation   places refurbished computers in educational and nonprofit organizations \
  • The Computer Recycling Center and Computers & Education,provides   refurbished computers to public schools and community nonprofits.
  • Kids in developing countries The World Computer Exchange    gives donated techno-goods to kids in developing countries.






EYEGLASSES– Donating your old eyeglasses can save someone in a developing nation from unemployment. With the price of glasses exceeding three months’ average salary in some African countries, donated eyeglasses are the only feasible way to bring sight to many visually impaired.

  • Lions Clubs International work with the Give the Gift of Sight Foundation . Drop off old specs at LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Target Optical, or Goodwill Industries stores.
  • New Eyes for the Needy- recycles for distribution to indigent people in developing nations worldwide-Metal or plastic eyeglasses, reading glasses and sunglasses in good condition are sent to medical missions and international charitable organizations for distribution to the poor in developing nations.






  • 10 grains of rice is donated for each answer you get right! (I do NOT speak Spanish but chose that anyway and I am surprised how I can actually figure out the word, most of the time. And I am learning Spanish!)

“…I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was in prison and you came to me.” Matthew 25:35 NKJV



Those items in your gift closet that you had grabbed when you found a great deal may have been awaiting an occasion such as this.


HAIR – donate yours when you get it cut,  for wigs for kids who have lost their hair.

  • LOCKS OF LOVE provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children  under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.

HOUSING-Free “on job training” learn skills from “on job training” that you can use for your own home by volunteering at Habitat for Humanity! You have the opportunity to learn skills that you can use for your own home, which can boost your confidence and come in handy to help save you money!!

















Paperback books Operation Paperback collects gently used books and sends them to American troops deployed overseas. Since 1999, we have shipped over 950,000 books to locations around the globe.

Many of our troops are serving far from home and living in facilities that provide few of the comforts of home. At the end of the duty day, the opportunity to escape into a good book is welcomed. Every week we receive thanks from troops who are glad to be appreciated and remembered.


Prom Dress – Prom Wishes, started by a 15 year old Sperry OK girl  New or gently used clean prom and bridesmaid dresses: in sizes 2 to Plus. Accessories:wraps, prom jewelry, evening handbags, gloves and prom shoes






What tiny random act of kindness can you do to help someone today who has no way of repaying you…something that you do for no reason…doing something no one else knows about simply because  it makes you feel good? Pay it forward…  

“RE-GIFT”   (See Gifts)


SHEETS, TOWELS and BLANKETS for bedding, old newspapers to line enclosures or donate your time to an animal shelter

SHOES– (GENTLY WORN SHOES) can help others

Shoeman Water Projects  donate used and new shoes year round from businesses, churches, schools, special events and shoe drives are sent to retailers in the developing world. The resale of shoes provides jobs and affordable footwear. Affordable shoes are a life saving tool as they protect the new owner’s feet and overall health from foot abrasions, parasites and mites. Funds generated from the export of shoes provides well drilling rigs, water purification systems, and hand pump repair micro businesses bringing clean, fresh water to those who thirst.

Shoeman  began  to  focus on clean drinking water after discerning that without clean water, all other aid is only a momentary stop-gap. From August of 2008 through June of 2011 Shoeman Water Projects has collected over 1.5 million pairs of shoes that have become affordable shoes for those in need of projection from abrasions and deadly parasites as well as clean drinking water. Shoeman Water Projects money has purchased of 4 water-well drilling rigs, more than 250 wells drilled serving more than 200,000 people, as well as water purification system installations and well pump repairs serving clinics, schools and villages across the globe.

Green Country Podiatry Center 3627 S Harvard Ave in Tulsa  has a shoe drive every November and December.  These gently worn (some people actually buy new) shoes are given to the DAY CENTER FOR THE HOMELESS here in Tulsa, where our Drs volunteer.  The shoes collected will be taken to the Center on December 24th.  If you know of anyone wishing to donate. they can drop their shoes off at the collection box , in the waiting room of our office. 918-747-4855

STUFFED TOYS  Some local fire and police station take “like new” stuffed animals in their police cars and fire trucks to give a frightened child for comfort in difficult times.

SURFING THE INTERNET Support your favorite charity every time you do an internet search.  A great way to support your favorite charity!


  • GOODSEARCH.  Every time you do an internet  search  GoodSearch   will donate a penny to your organization (doesn’t sound like much but adds up quickly if a lot of people participate). Choose from thousands of different charities or one of your own. Some set their church up on it so that all the money goes towards a particular thing such as mission trips (local and international).  Plus you can search for a store (like ebay) and if you click on the highlighted link a portion of all you purchase goes to your charity as well.  



Doing something small may not save a life, but it can change someone’s life.



 TIME Giving of our time is something that can make a big difference for so many, especially the elderly. You are limited only by your imagination and the size of your compassion for others.
  • Older folks might need an errand run, an item or two from the grocery, something from the pharmacy,  a ride somewhere, a light bulb changed that is too high for them to reach standing on an chair, shoveling snow, lighting a pilot light, caulking around windows so they stay a little warmer or maybe just a quick call to make sure they are ok, etc.
  • work at a soup kitchen or help deliver meals to elderly shut-ins.
  • Read books at the wing of a children’s hospital once or twice a month
  • Visit a nursing home resident whose family lives in another state.  Veterans, especially those hospitalized or in care centers love a visit or a Christmas card. Just having someone to visit and talk to, maybe read a book to or to help them with something they can’t do any longer for themselves can mean so much.
  • Be a volunteer. Look at your schedule and see how much time you can give. It may be an hour a month, it may be more. You do not have to travel far to do this. It may be your neighbor who needs someone to babysit, walk their dog, visit for a cup of coffee.

Sometimes all people need is someone to visit and talk to, maybe read a book to or help with something they may need help with. Everywhere you turn, your time is not only needed, but wanted and appreciated.

Your time is also valuable to a charity, a community-service organization and many individuals.

On Christmas Day, volunteering at the local homeless shelter doing whatever you can, then later dining with some of the guests and other volunteers will give more meaning to the day than a mega-meal at home that you have stressed out over.

The River Principle– Our life is like a river, not a reservoir. God will give to us what He knows will flow through us. 




VETERANS AND MILITARY- Ways to thank them that cost nothing

  • SEND A THANK YOU CARD for free!  Go to pick out a card and Xerox will print and send it to a soldier who is currently serving in  Iraq    You can’t pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.
  • ASK YOUR BOSS IF YOUR COMPANY CAN GIVE A SMALL DISCOUNT TO A VETERAN SHOWING A VETERANS CARD OR A SERVICE PERSON WITH A MILITARY ID   …or if you are a business owner be sure to advertise any Veterans discount you offer. Veterans support those who support them.









Here are lots of places to donate items you don’t want that others really need.


UPDATE TO ORIGINAL LIST:  List complied November 2009 and originally posted on several forums on the internet

Added 12/15/2010

This entry was posted in Christmas, Military families, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Veterans. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Christmas-Helping Others Even When Money is Tight

  1. Pingback: Make a Difference Without Breaking the Bank | Random Musings Of A Mad Mama!

  2. Dani says:

    Google: ways to give at christmas

    and do a search here on this site under “Christmas”

  3. Sara says:

    Maybe this year we should keep the Christ in Christmas;celebrating Him, by giving gifts that are often more appreciated than material gifts.

    I love the Christmas season as long as it is about Christ…the parts that are exclusively about Him…not the shopping and commercial. Just the songs and services. What an opportunity.
    How will you be celebrating Christmas?


    *Call an older friend or relative to say hello and check on their well-being.
    *Time spent with family or a friend you haven’t seen in a long time costs nothing and may actually be more important than anything you could buy. If you are unable to visit in person, a personal handwritten letter means more than an e-mail or text ever will. There are lonely widows and veterans who would feel very blessed to hear from you….How about a former teacher?

    Do a chore –
    *Change a lightbulb or some other small chore for an older person that might be hard for them to do for themselves
    *Rake leaves or clean off a sidewalk (depending on weather) for an elderly neighbor.
    *Share your talent with someone: Teach a lonely person how to use social media so they can stay in touch with others.

    Donate time –
    * Volunteer at a senior center or another nonprofit….
    *listen to stories about elderly friends that are in their 80’s and 90’s about their lives during the Great Depression; whether they were affected or not. They tell stories of traveling, working, loving and losing loved ones and truly living, very interesting and beautiful stories.

    Pick an angel off The Angel Tree for the elderly who might need a warm gown or house shoes..

    *Give a compliment. You have no idea how much that means.
    *Smile at everyone you meet today.
    *Hold the door for someone.

    Some older folks don’t have enough to eat after they pay for their utility bills, prescriptions, gas to the doctor, taxes, insurance, rent, toilet paper etc.
    *Giving anonymously is great because the recipients won’t know who the gift came from. As a result, they won’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of needing help. some elderly just can’t seem to get ahead. Buy a grocery store gift card or one to the gas station and deliver it anonymously.
    *Pay for someone in line behind you at a drive-thru or convenience store who looks like they might be struggling.
    *Share your meal with someone who is hungry for kindness and compassion. Buy extra ingredients for your holiday feast and invite someone you know is alone to spend Christmas Day with your family.
    *Take homemade cookies to a neighbor
    *Share leftovers
    *Share a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or dinner with someone eating alone at a cafe.
    *Pay for the elderly buying an ice cream cone at the ice cream store. Watch them happily enjoying it; smiling, make happy sounds and sometimes giggling if they are with another person.

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