There are a lot of expectations for what donations are most needed at a large emergency shelter like Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission. Many of these expectations are completely true, eg: nonperishable food items, shirts, hats, blankets, etc. But there are a few things that we always need but seldom receive. So I am going to take this opportunity tell you about the top five out-of-the-box items that we use on a daily basis and why they are so important.
If you are anything like me, you have one great pair of sneakers and you wear them until they are worn down to almost nothing. By the time I buy a new pair of sneakers, the old ones are filled with holes and have a very thin sole. This is why I seldom donate my old athletic shoes. And this is also why Sunday Breakfast rarely has a supply of sneakers to be given away. Dress shoes may look nice (and are great for job interviews!) but when you spend a lot of your time outside, on your feet, or walking then dress shoes are just not that comfortable. This is why sneakers are (metaphorically) worth their weight in gold to Sunday Breakfast.
Men and women come in all shapes and sizes. And in order to help all kinds of people, most t-shirts or hoodies donated range from sizes Small to Extra Large. You might be saying, “that sounds great, those are all the sizes.” False. Those are most of the sizes. Unfortunately some of our larger guests require XXL to XXXL clothing. These larger men and women do not have the option of buying correctly sized clothing which is why it is so important that Sunday Breakfast is prepared to accommodate their needs before they ask.
Full Sized Shampoo:
For our long term guests, we help them settle in until they are ready to live an independent and productive life. These men will be with us for eight to twelve months (depending on how long it takes them to graduate from the Overcomer program). During this time, it is important that they make this building their home. Our abundance of travel sized shampoos, soaps, and conditioners is perfect for our Emergency Population but it makes the Overcomers feel like they are staying in a hotel rather than at their own house. Donating full sized toiletries helps these men feel at home and invest in their surroundings. It is a small but important shift in perspective.
Every day, the Mission goes through twenty six rolls of toilet paper rolls. People don’t talk about it but everybody needs it. Have you ever seen a sign that said, “Restrooms are for Customers Only”? The homeless men and women of Philadelphia do not have the privilege of using many restrooms around the city because they cannot afford to be considered a customer. Can you imagine the humiliation of being refused this very basic need? This is why our bathrooms are in constant use by those who don’t have anywhere else to go. Sunday Breakfast pays $14.63 a day for a privilege that most of us take for granted. Think outside the box: sponsor a day of free bathroom access for the Philly homeless today.
Our two thrift store locations are in desperate need of furniture. Between giving it away to ex-homeless individuals at our Bucks County Furniture Bank or selling it to provide more meals in Center City, we don’t have much furniture left. Approximately 26% of our income is provided by sales from our thrift stores. They are a vital part of keeping the Mission alive. Donated furniture can also be given away at the Bucks County Furniture Bank. Last year, they provided 398 pieces of furniture for ex-homeless individuals and families in Bucks County. Call the nearest store location for free pick up!
If you found this list interesting, then follow our constantly changing Pinterest board of most needed items. This is a great way of staying informed about the items that we need most when we need them. The needs may change but the reason is always the same: to end homelessness. Help us end homelessness donating these strange little things that make a big difference.