Visit the website of any animal shelter and you’re likely to find a “wish list” of items that they need to continue providing a safe, comfortable environment for the animals they serve. Chances are you have some of these items around the house, so why not consider packing them up and making a donation? The shelter and the animals will appreciate the help.
1. Bedding and Soft Goods. Every animal needs a comfortable place to sleep, so pet beds and blankets are welcome donations at shelters. Find out what kinds of animals your local shelter takes in and provide beds that meet their needs. Other soft goods such as towels are needed as well, both for the animals and for use in daily cleaning around the shelter.
2. Food. The large numbers of animals taken in by shelters require a lot of food. Think about how much it costs to feed your pets and imagine how much more a shelter needs. Take advantage of sales on pet food to stock up on a little extra for donating. Even if you just have a coupon on hand that could be used to provide a discount, your local shelter can benefit from the savings.
3. Toys. Shelter pets need stimulation just like any other animal, which makes toys perfect items to donate. Sensory toys for cats, soft toys for dogs and distractions such as scratching posts can all be used to keep shelter animals entertained.
4. Cleaning Supplies. Cleaning up after all the animals in a shelter requires a great deal of paper towels, disinfectant and other household cleaning products. These are easy to find and can be picked up during your weekly shopping trip and dropped off at the shelter on your way home. As with pet food, keep an eye out for sales and coupons so you can get even more to donate.
5. Craft Items. It might seem strange to donate old items such as buttons, yarn and gently used clothes to an animal shelter, but some have programs that use these materials to craft new things such as blankets and bedding for their animals. Others repurpose donations and sell them in community auctions or shops specifically established to raise money for the shelter’s needs.
6. Goods to Sell. If your local shelter does have its own shop or holds an occasional rummage sale to raise money, ask them what kinds of items they’re looking for. Everyone has clothes and household necessities that they’re not using, and it’s much better for these to go to a good cause than to sit around your house taking up space. Clean out the closets for anything that’s in good enough condition to be sold, clean it up and turn it over to the shelter so that the animals can benefit from the profits.