The U.S. is a fairly charitable nation, with about seven out of every 10 Americans giving to charity each year. However, only about 3% of total annual income is given to charities each year. Does that mean U.S. residents are charitable but cheap at the same time. Not exactly. Many people choose to donate items, either new or used, to charitable organizations in addition to or in lieu of monetary donations.
One of the most commonly donated items is clothes, which is a good thing, because the average person goes through 68 items of clothing and seven pairs of shoes in a year. There are many organizations that you can donate clothes to when you no longer need them. If you take the clothes to a Red Cross donation center, they will be given to people in need after a disaster. Organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army sell items in good condition in their thrift stores to raise money for the organizations. Churches and homeless shelters are also good places to donate clothing and shoes after you are done with them, as they will be given to people in need.
Household goods also make good items to donate. Dishes, home decor and small appliances that are still in working order can make good donation items. Rugs, bath towels and other items also can be helpful. And, of course, toys, sporting goods and games make good donations, especially ones that are geared toward children.
Another commonly donated item is food. There are food pantries to which you can donate directly or you can donate through food drives. Red Cross donation centers also often will take donations of food. The only real issue with food is that it has to be non-perishable and it has to be unopened in the original container. Canned goods make good food donations because they have long shelf lives.
Whatever you decide to donate, whether it is used clothing donations or food, make sure you donate to a reputable organization. Many organizations make it easy for you to donate by having a designated clothing donation center or doing pickups for donated items. Also, giving to a registered charity allows you to take a tax deduction for the items, which allows you to do good while also recouping some of the money you have spent on the items you are donating.