Spring is in the air, summer is on the way. This is the time of year when many people begin to pack up their winter gear and spring clean their home in preparation for the summer. If you are like me, I have piles of items I do not need anymore but still have good use left. These items can be donated to help others, and there seems to be a plethora of ways and places to give to. You could possibly help in more ways than you know by being a charitable prepper.
A charitable prepper can give food
Food storage is an obvious place to begin, but you can do more with food than just donate cans before they expire. (FYI – most food pantries accept food that is 1-2 years past its best by date, but give them a call first to double check.) Having a food supply on hand in a well-stocked pantry means you can make or provide meals for people who need them quickly.
Meals are often needed for funerals, families who just had a baby, families dealing with illnesses or even people just going through a move or big transition. If you like to cook, you can make a meal from your food storage and take it on over. A warm casserole is easy to make and is always welcomed! Or, you can put together meal packages where all the ingredients are provided, along with a recipe and disposable cooking pan. (Throwing in disposable plates and utensils when you give a meal is another way to make life easier for someone.) Dehydrated or freeze-dried food can be put in large mason jars to make instant soups, tasty chili or skillet meals. You can find families to give food to by calling churches, funeral homes, food pantries or refugee/immigration services.
READ MORE: You can learn more about dehydrating dinners here.
Give from your garden
Giving people the means to grow their own food can not only help them feed themselves, but help them become more self-sustaining. You can read and learn how to save and store your own seeds. This is a great way to encourage someone to begin growing their own food, and if you are already saving your own seeds, you may have a plentiful stock that you could share from.
Consider putting together seed kits for people you know, or donate them with instructions to food pantries. Here are instructions for putting together a well-organized seed bank in an Altoids in. Some cities have a piece of land set aside for a community garden. Many of those who participate are lower income residents who are wanting to supplement their food budget. Call your local community center and offer your seeds with instructions for when and how to plant them.
While toy donations are very popular around the holidays, consider other times of the year, too. Many hospitals, teachers, and after school centers would love to have coloring, crafting and writing supplies. If your preps include supplies from the after back-to-school sales, giving some of those away would be appreciated. My children’s teachers are now starting to request items for the classroom instead of for them individually. Children can even make homemade cards to take to nursing homes, hospitals, fire stations or send to military deployed overseas (visit USO.org for more information on contacting military members).
Use your skills to create items for giving
If you are a good seamstress, woodworker or crafter, you could use your skills to make items to donate. Bandanas, light weight hats, simple skirts and shorts could easily be made. If you can knit or sew, you could make these items and find a church, foster care organization, food pantry or soup kitchen to donate the items to. Some charities accept handmade wooden toys to pass out to children.
Families in need often don’t have money for photographs. Offering a photograph session at one of these places could help capture a family’s memories. Another way to help could be offering to mend clothes or do handyman services for families in need. You could see if a local community center, church or library would let you host a class in its building for free.
Consider what skills you have and then figure out ways to use them to bless those in need.
Teach what you know
Sharing prepping skills by teaching them is another way to help people. Sewing, crocheting and crafting classes can be offered with supplies provided so that the people learning can take something home. They will then also have learned a skill that can help them be more self-sustaining.
Putting together small sewing kits for people attending a mending class to take home would allow them mend their own clothes. Providing a skein of yarn and knitting needles after a knitting class can put them on the start of making their own scarves or hats. Preppers tend to learn many skills to set themselves up for survival. Passing on those skills could be one of the best gifts you can give someone.
Sometimes prepping means stocking up and sometimes it means paring down. Walk through your house while spring cleaning and see if there is anything you could part with, like you would do if you were going to have a garage sale. You can sell the extra items and use the money to donate cash to a charity. Another option is to donate the items to places where they could be used. Thrift stores are one good way to donate household items as a lot of them are used to fund charities. Another way is to contact your state’s immigration/refugee services and see if there are any families nearby who are in need of household items.
Money is also another way preppers can help charities. Giving bigger tips, paying it forward, or just keeping an eye out for people who could use some help is a way to share your blessings. Consider paying for someone’s bill at a restaurant, pay for the person behind you in the drive-through, or put a few dollars in the Redbox DVD when you return it. Some find it easier to purchase gift cards to give to those in need. If you do have extra money, you can also buy things to help support the organizations and families around you. If you don’t have much in savingss, learn about the 52-weeks-savings plan so you’ll have money to use for charities next year.
TIP: You can read about how to make the 52 weeks savings plan work for you
Don’t forget that one of the easiest ways to give is with your time. Spend some time volunteering in your community. We live in neighborhoods and communities that have many opportunities for us to serve others. There are always going to be people around us who need our help. While we have many blessings, some have very little. Let’s take a few steps to make the world around us a little better. What ways do you find to be charitable?