During this challenging time, we’re all searching for ways to lend a hand – safely. And while volunteering may be off the table for some, you can still give back to your community without doing so in-person. Whether you’re looking to rehome some of your personal possessions, willing to shop for other people in need or eager to share your expertise with others online, here are some incredible groups looking for your help in supporting DC locals right now.
District of Columbia Public Schools
DCPS (District of Columbia Public Schools) is currently supporting students at-home learning by distributing school supplies, toiletries, grocery gift cards and more. You can direct your donation towards your local school, or contact DCPS to find the schools most in need. Schools are currently looking for pencils, crayons, hand sanitizer, puzzles and more. You can also make a monetary donation here.
So Others Might Eat
For over 50 years, S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat) has been serving the DC"s homeless community and those experiencing extreme poverty. This interfaith organization is collecting masks (including homemade ones), board games, cards, puzzles and other activities for kids and adults. They are also seeking over-the-counter medications, like Tylenol and cough drops, household items, including toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and food items like juice boxes, jello cups, granola bars, cereal and more.
71 O St. NW
A Wider Circle
A Wider Circle provides basic need items to families transitioning out of homelessness or leaving domestic abuse situations. Have baby essentials you want to get out of your house? A Wider Circle accepts strollers, highchairs, changing tables, Pack ‘n Plays, car seats, infant and toddler clothing, and cribs. Your donation could greatly improve the living conditions of our region’s most vulnerable families. Their goal is to help families start anew with dignity and hope.
Safety regulations: A Wider Circle offers contactless drop offs for donors. Weekend drop offs require a reservation
GreenDrop converts donated items to funds for families in need. They have been selected by various organizations including the American Red Cross, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Federation of the Blind and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia, to raise funds through the generation and collection of donated items. GreenDrop accepts all articles of clothing, shoes, blankets and bedding, as well as tools, collectibles, kitchenware, toys, small appliances, electronics, musical instruments and sporting goods.
Various Drop-Off Locations around MD and VA or schedule a pick-up
The Buy Nothing Project
You don't need to leave your home to share with others. With the growing trend of "Buy Nothing" groups online, you can post items that no longer bring you joy and brighten up the day of one of your neighbors (they simply scoop up your goods from your doorstep). You can also share your time and talents. Whether you're a notary public or an online tutor, you can offer your services free-of-charge on these sites to help those that may not otherwise afford them. These sites also let you post things from your personal wish list with one simple rule: money never changes hands.
Partners for Kids in Care
Donations from the generous DC community allows Partners for Kids in Care to provide much-needed items and educational experiences to children and youth in foster care and at-risk families in DC’s welfare system. Due to COVID, their offices are currently closed to visitors, but you can mail in your donation. They have a number of seasonal drives and departments. For instance, the Children's Donation Center is a shop-free site for foster kids and at-risk families; this store is always looking for toiletries, luggage and sleeping bags.
200 I St. SE
Bikes for the World
Let's think about the tricycles and bikes that may be crowding your hallway or tiny garage. A great organization that can help you to get rid of some of those bikes is Bikes for the World. Bikes for the World is a nonprofit humanitarian organization and volunteer network that collects thousands of used bicycles, as well as bike parts and tools, and delivers them to community programs around the world. Recently, they worked with BikeMatch DC to deliver bikes to essential workers during COVID. So get to pedaling over to the Bikes for the World Warehouse. You can donate at anytime to any participating bike shop or find out when the local warehouse (address below) is hosting a bike drive.
1420 S. Eads Ave.
—Meghan Yudes Meyers, Jennifer O’Brien, Guiomar Ochoa and Victoria Mason
featured photo: iStock