10 things you can donate to good causes

We’ve all given old clothes to charity shops in the past. But small local causes can need all sorts of weird and wonderful donations to help them keep going. Here are just a few unexpected things that you could give away to offer #BagsMore help to people in your community…

1. A quick chat
Did you know that there’s a way to tackle loneliness without even leaving the house? Age UK’s ‘Telephone Befriender’ service is currently closed due to oversubscription, but the British Red Cross has a whole host of ‘Community Connecters’ volunteering opportunities. These are perfect for giving isolated people the support, encouragement, and companionship they need to reconnect with their communities. Find out more at redcross.org.uk

2. Feminine hygiene products
Nobody should have to worry about access to tampons and pads when they’re in crisis. So next time there’s an offer, why not pick up an extra pack or two for your local women’s shelter?

3. A cuddle with your pet
If your cat or dog has a calm temperament and has lived with you for at least 6 months, they could become a PAT (or Pets as Therapy) animal. This means that you can take them into local hospices, hospitals, nursing and care homes to visit vulnerable people who would really appreciate a cuddle. Find out more at petsastherapy.org

4. Transportation
If you own a car and have a bit of time on your hands, loads of organisations could use a hand with transport. If you’re an animal lover, you can take dogs and cats in animal shelters to their veterinary appointments. Or you could volunteer with the British Red Cross, and help vulnerable people get out and about to help tackle loneliness. Just make sure to check that your insurance covers it before you start.

5. Your hair
If you’ve got hair to spare, there’s a way to donate it to help people who don’t – via the Little Princess Trust. This unique charity uses donated hair to create wigs for people living with cancer and other diseases. There are a few criteria that your donated hair needs to pass first – like being 7” or longer – so you can find out more here.

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6. An old winter coat
People all over the country have been setting up community coat racks recently, in a response to cold weather and rising homelessness. If there isn’t a rack to donate to in your town, you could always start one yourself. Just don’t forget to add the essential sign: ‘Need one? Take one. Want to help? Leave one.’

7. Nappies and baby food
Lots of people don’t think to donate these to local food banks, but there are many families in need who would really appreciate them. Alternatively, find out where your nearest food bank is using this map, and give them a call to see which supplies are running low.

8. Tin openers
Think about the kinds of food most people donate to food banks. It’s usually non-perishable and tinned, right? For that reason, donating tin openers to food banks is absolutely essential – the more, the better!

9. Makeup and toiletries
When life takes a downward turn, little indulgences can mean the world. So next time you get an unwanted gift like an eyeshadow palette, aftershave or shower cream, why not donate it to a women’s shelter or food bank? It could be just the thing to help someone feel like themselves again.

10. 1% of everything you spend at the Co-op
We thought we’d throw in this one too! When you become a Co-op Member, 5% of everything you spend on selected own brand products and services from Co-op Food, Co-op Funeralcare and Co-op Legal will go back to you, and 1% will be donated to a community cause. This could be anything from a local Scout organisation to a homeless shelter, and it’s always chosen by you. Find out more at coop.co.uk/membership.