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Giving Back on Black Friday 

November 29, 2019

Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, shoppers rush into retail stores in the early hours of the morning in hopes of scoring the best possible deals on the most popular products. The day of consumerism has been dubbed, “Black Friday” by the media, and isn’t always associated too closely with the concept of giving.

This year, though, it can be.

As you fill up your shopping cart with toys for the kids, or new clothes for your wardrobe, you’ve probably not put too much thought into what you’ll do with the older models of the products that you’re shopping to replace. To many of the less fortunate, however, those older versions of products are as good as gold.  

Woman holding shopping bags

What Can I Donate?

The umbrella of donations that homeless shelters will accept is wider than many people expect.

If your Black Friday shopping revolves mostly around buying a new wardrobe, than hopefully you have older clothes, that are still in good condition, taking up space in your dresser. This includes shirts, pants, undergarments, jackets, and so on. All those items are all ideal for donation.

If your Black Friday shopping revolves around buying toys and products for your children, then, as you probably know by now, your kids will be tossing away their old favorite toys the second they lay their eyes on the newer, shinier model. But those old toys, including gently-used action figures, ipods, board games and so on, are often perfect for redistribution to a family without many options in terms of entertainment. 

Another great option for donation is diapers. If you find yourself out on Black Friday and you stumble across an awesome discount, maybe consider buying an extra pack or two to donate to your local shelter. People don’t always think of young children and babies when they think of homeless shelters, but they are there, and they are just as in-need as anyone.

Two Children Dressed in superhero costume

Where Can I Donate?

You can usually find all of your closest homeless shelters by doing a quick Google search using a term like “Homeless shelters near me.” The websites of those shelters will also occasionally have lists of products they are specifically in need of, and the locations posted of where you can donate.

The process will vary by location, but occasionally, shelters will ask for you to call before hand to schedule a donation drop-off. 

If for some reason you can’t find a homeless shelter, you can also look for drop-spots around your town or community. Charities will often set up locations where you can, quite literally, drop of the clothes you want to donate. The clothes you put in a charities donation bin, however, doesn’t usually go directly to local homeless shelters. In other words, if you’re looking to donate items directly to a shelter, your best bet is to find their physical location. 

 If you’re in the Northshore Massachusetts area, here are a few links to shelters that may be in your area. 

LifeBridge (Salem, MA) – https://lifebridgenorthshore.org

River House (Beverly, MA) – https://riverhousebeverly.org

Bridgehouse (Lynn, MA) – http://www.lsahome.org

What Can I Buy on Black Friday to Donate?

Buying in bulk on Black Friday is very likely part of your gameplan to begin with. In some cases, if you’re feeling particularly generous, you may be able to capitalize on the price-slashing to get some really low prices on items that shelters are in need of. 

Pots and pans tend to get worn down over time at homeless shelters. While you may not find kitchen items on lists of necessities for your local shelter, it’s a thoughtful, and helpful, donation for both those working in the kitchen and those eating at the shelter. 


Another option you can typically find on sale on Black Friday is sneakers. A new pair of sneakers is a welcome addition for nearly anyone to add to their wardrobe, particularly for someone who may not have the income for non-essential clothing.

Finally, my personal favorite, books. Anyone who has ever gotten lost in a good book knows just how much a well-written story can transport you. Whether you pass along your favorite books, or purchase a few off the discount rack on black Friday, shelters will happily accept the vast majority of book donations.

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Black Friday is a day filled with excitement, anticipation, and activity. It’s on days like Black Friday that it can be easy to forget about the less fortunate. 

This year, let’s share the wealth, share the love, and share the holiday by giving back to homeless shelters everywhere. 

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