When you donate money to a charity like the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society, you are making a huge impact on the work we are able to do and on the quality of life we can offer our clients. We are able to direct that money to where it’s needed most. That includes hiring staff to provide the adequate care and provide great service, purchasing needed supplies, and keeping the doors open and the lights on.

But that certainly doesn’t mean money is the only way you can help. Your in-kind donations can make just as great an impact. Especially when those items are things we go through in large quantities, on a regular basis. And if you can bring in a receipt for the items you donate, we are still able to provide tax receipts (minus the GST) to reward your generosity.

Here are 5 in-kind donations we are always in need of:

1. Work Boots

timberland-pro-pitboss-steel-toe-work-boot-300x286[1]Our clients work! In fact our Labour Office placed over 11,000 jobs in 2014 alone. Couple that with over 170,000 bagged lunches distributed over those same twelve months, that means an average of one quarter to one half of clients are employed and working on any given day.

As you might expect, the majority of jobs our clients are hired for are in construction and labour industries. This usually requires workers to wear personal protective gear – which steel toed work boots are among the most important.

We never have enough work boots to keep up with demand. We always welcome donations of new and gently used pairs so our clients can continue working and making money to support themselves in climbing out of the cycle of homelessness.


2. Socks & Underwear

mens-socks-thick-striped-colorwayClean socks and underwear are essential pieces of an overall healthcare regimen. Especially when it comes to preventing the spread of disease and infection. Yet it’s all too easy to take them for granted.

We wake up in the morning, grab a pair from our dresser drawer, shower and go about our day. When they wear out, we simply go to the store and replenish our collection without giving it a second thought. Things are rarely so simple for the 1,200 men and women who live at the Calgary Drop-In Centre.

Storage is at a premium, which means our clients can only carry a few changes of clothing at any given time. Regular wear and frequent laundering cause these items wear out quickly. Our clothing store is always in need of new socks and underwear to ensure our clients don’t have to go without.


3. Toiletries

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Hygiene Office at the Calgary Drop-In Centre is one of the busiest places in the building. Hundreds of showers are taken each day. And that means countless bottles of shampoo and body wash are needed to keep up with demand. Not to mention sticks of deodorant, razors and shaving cream, toothbrushes and tooth paste.

For matters of hygiene and convenience, we can only provide clients with travel sized toiletries. And that means we go through a lot of supplies.

We’re always happy to receive these kinds of donations and they make a huge impact on the lives of our clients – both in terms of their personal healthcare and their self-esteem.


4. Towels & Blankets

Towels and piece of soap isolated on white backgroundEvery day 1,200 people sleep under our roof. Each client is provided with a warm comfortable blanket to take to bed with them at night. For hygiene reasons, these blankets get washed every morning – and as you might well assume, it doesn’t take long for them to become worn out and unusable.

And just as with toiletries, the hundreds of clients who use our hygiene office also require towels to dry themselves. Without a convenient place to store their wet towels, these also find their way into the laundry on a daily basis – and wear out just as quickly as the blankets do.

Towels and blankets may not be the first items that come to mind when you’re thinking of items to donate to the Calgary Drop-In Centre, but they are essential to making sure clients have a comfortable place to sleep every night and access to warm refreshing showers when they wake up in the morning.


5. Ibuprofen & First Aid Supplies

emergency-023There is an incredible benefit to having a medical clinic on site for easy access to homeless men and women. Not only does it significantly reduce overall costs to the healthcare system, it also provides a convenient and trusted place for our clients to go when they fall ill or become injured.

From cuts and abrasions, to migraines, fevers, arthritis and chronic pain – our nurses treat a wide range of issues every day. With those treatments also comes a need for a well-stocked supply of first aid supplies.

From gauze and bandages for cuts, to ibuprofen and ice packs for pain and swelling. The costs of these items adds up quickly. We always welcome donations to offset the expense incurred by our medical program, which is not funded through government support.