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Perfect the Art of Giving this Holiday Season by Giving Giving Reality

The seasonal serenade of bells belonging to Salvation Army hostesses serves as an annual reminder to be given to those less fortunate. As we go back and forth to stores avoiding contact with hostesses, we take a mental note of guiltily adding “check pantry and cupboards for donations” to our endless to-do lists.

And while those cereal boxes your kids refused to try or that unopened jar of peanut butter would be appreciated by food insecure families, we often forget to consider that they might use some of the same as well. those little luxuries and necessities that make life worth living and that we often take for granted.

The art of giving is simple and it boils down to really making your giving matter this holiday season and beyond.

Some Scrooges may cling to the idea that those in need will (and should) be grateful for whatever they can get. But who are we to control another person’s wants or needs?

“It’s not our job to ask them whether they need it or not,” says Carolyn Benavides, owner of Joe’s Pizza, Pasta & Subs in Carrollton. “We have an abundance and we must pass it on to people who can use it.”

Joe’s Pizza, Pasta & Subs also serves as a soup kitchen for Thanksgiving. But the restaurant caters to those who need it throughout the year in more than one way.

The restaurant provides basic foods to give to those in need and offers cooked and fresh foods to take home. About once a month, the pizzeria opens its doors to seniors to enjoy freshly prepared meals.

On Joe’s Pizza Facebook page, Benavides posted lists of their most needed gifts: plastic storage bags, foil, plastic items, styrofoam trays, butter, milk, seasonings, degreaser, dish soap. and garbage bags. All of these are overlooked by donors.

From schools to libraries and storefronts, everyone seems to be collecting canned food and other useful donations. Non-perishable foods are flying off pantry shelves, but there are hardly ever options for fresh foods, meats, utensils and cooking utensils.

Common donations from most food distribution charities often require additional items or specific cooking utensils to prepare a full meal. Bread, meats, casseroles, milk and butter are requirements for trying to make a sandwich, pasta, rice, and for meeting the nutritional needs of families. While donors are well-meaning, Hamburger Helper without a burger isn’t really helpful.

Likewise, canned foods are a practical and sustainable staple food, but how are those canned going to be opened? Pop-top cans are preferred, unless the donation of cans comes with a can opener. For this same reason, pantries also need utensils to accompany the food they distribute. There is also a great demand for paper towels, pots, pans, aluminum foil, oil, flour and sugar, which are necessary staples in every kitchen.

Small household appliances that are often overlooked as donations can impact the quality of life and nutrition of displaced people. An item such as a slow cooker can help them prepare a hot meal.

To maximize non-perishable gifts, think outside the box. Consider donating the fresh foods needed to prepare a complete meal that will fill the nutritional gaps, the household items needed to cook them, and the supplies for cleaning up after the meal.

Soup kitchens and community organizers such as Benavides nurture relationships with those in need, helping to put donations back into the hands of those who could benefit most. Benavides also serves as a contact point for school counselors, coaches, churches and community leaders to meet the diverse needs of the community.

In addition to food, the soup kitchen redistributes furniture, booster seats (used car seats are not recommended for infants), work tools, bicycles, clothing and appliances. They also provide financial assistance for bills and rent. Donations to Joe’s Pizza, Pasta & Subs Thanksgiving Day Soup Kitchen can be made on their website or can be dropped off at 1904 E. Belt Line Road.

“I never threw anything that someone gave us, ever,” says Benavides. “We are always able to take it to someone in need. It’s so wonderful to have an engaged community.

Another often overlooked gift, says Benavides, is laundry detergent. Beyond health reasons, clean clothes allow people to keep working opportunities and children not to be bullied at school.

Say It With Your Chest DTX (SIWYC), a left-wing community organization led by a black woman, runs weekly wash days for people who are homeless. The organization visits homeless camps and collects dirty clothes. Along with volunteers and other community organizations, SIWYC members meet on Wednesdays to pick up, wash and pack the clothes, then return the fresh packed clothes to their owners.

“We do this because we also need our laundry to be cleaned and we recognize that, we understand what it is like not to have clean clothes and how essential they are,” said Danielle, organizer of the SIWYC, to Fox 4 News in November. “We’re just helping our neighbors, really. “

“It’s not our job to ask them whether they need it or not. … We have an abundance and we must pass it on to those who can use it. –Carolyn Benavides, owner of Carrollton’s Joe’s Pizza, Pasta & Subs

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SIWYC organizers say there is a huge need for clean clothes and that aside from food donations, donors should consider clothing care items such as detergents, fabric softeners and laundry bags. Gifts of this type allow individuals to take care of the few items they have. Volunteers are also needed to help during the wash days. Those interested can contact SIWYC through their Instagram page to donate or volunteer.

For the Genesis Women’s Shelter’s 2020 vacation program, the association has requested gift cards from donors in order to adhere to pandemic safety protocols. The program has been particularly effective because the gift cards allow families to freely choose the gifts they place under the tree, giving them the chance to play Santa Claus with their children.

“When you give a gift card, you are giving a woman in need the power to choose, a luxury that has been repeatedly taken away from her by her abusive partner,” says Genesis Women’s Shelter on its website.

The shelter kept the concept of a gift card for the 2021 holiday program, collecting Visa and Amazon gift cards which they distribute in the form of gift cards valued at $ 150 per mother and $ 50 per child. . Mothers are also given packing supplies so that they can participate in these little traditions that make the holidays special. Donations can be made on the shelter’s website.

If you are donating to a shelter or an individual, consider donating a gift card – the gift of choice gives families a sense of normalcy. But every nonprofit has its wishlist. It doesn’t hurt to call ahead and find the best way to help so that your well-being is doing the best it can. real Well.