I'm helping to collect clothes for women and children for my local refuge. Also toiletries and other useful items.
Does anyone have suggestions as to particular things that would be nice/helpful/needed? If you've experienced a refuge or know about them, please let me know your thoughts. I hope this won't be upset anyone, just want to make sure I'm asking for the right kind of thing.
Ask the Women's Aid/Refuge group you want to help, what they need. This will vary from group to group and even month to month, depending on the people in the refuge, or moving on from there. Many will be rehoused with nothing to their names, so general household goods can help them to set up.
Also bear in mind most WA groups don't have much storage space.
I know from experience that when my daughter moved into a refuge she was supplied with bedding but she had no kettle which she found difficult as these can be a bit expensive and for a while she had no money at all so couldn't buy one. I also know that most of the rooms have little storage area so that needs to be taken into account. I think it's wonderful that you are collecting for the women and children who are often incredibly vulnerable, well done.
There was a thread the other day that started off a bit trolly about food banks, it then discussed refuges and donations. I'm not sure if it's still up, it was in AIBU I think. MNHQ were going to delete it, then I think they changed their minds.
Just going to throw out ideas regardless of cost, of course adjust to your budget.
Older boys' clothes apparently are in short supply, although not all refuges take boys over 12. If it does take boys over 12, male toiletries might be received well.
San pro, that must be really humiliating to ask for or try to improvise, it can be expensive too.
Nice toiletries? Kettle sounds good. Blankets? Thinking something comforting, safe, relaxing/distracting, something which feels like "mine". Colouring stuff for children - complete sets of pens/crayons rather than having to share. Perhaps a nice notebook/journal. Books as long as they aren't triggering or upsetting. Treaty foods. Portable CD/DVD player.
But then practical stuff is probably a priority too - baby equipment. Pushchairs, slings, sleeping bags, bottles, warmers, mobile/playmat etc for something nice. Weather proof clothing, especially for children - wellies, raincoats, warm coats, gloves, scarves, hats, fleeces, vests. Good quality shoes, some of that waterproofing spray for shoes. Nice fluffy/warm towels, hooded towels for babies. Children's toothpaste.
Something to keep children busy for longer periods - open ended toys, paper and pens, packs of cards for older ones, some of those books with rainy day activities or things to do on a car journey/plane (good for games you can do in a small space with few props). Story CDs for different ages or song CDs for little ones. Cheap earphones. Sport stuff if the refuge has a garden - a ball, a frisbee (perhaps more summery). Book on how to make paper aeroplanes or other things which don't require hundreds of things from a craft shop but just stuff which is extremely everyday. Guinness book of records (keeps you going for ages).
Top up cards for different phone networks, if they don't expire. Gift cards for grocery shops or Boots or Superdrug, then they can buy their own toiletries and medicines. Lemsip if you're allowed to put medication in.
Comics/magazines. Branded cereal, with a free toy.