Guys, I know around certain times of the year, we're more focused on charity.  It's natural, just like that peanut butter you bought that one time that you always needed to shake and stir up before you used it, or the oil would sit at the top.  Natural.

Surely around the holidays you see a lot more opportunities. People are always looking to make Christmas magical for the kids. And different yearly holidays inspire you to volunteer and give where you can. You know, you might pay for a meal on Veteran's Day, or you might plant a tree on Arbor Day. It varies, ya dig.

But when it comes to giving all the time? Most of us, including me, don't think about it. Maybe that makes me a selfish wierdo that lives under a rock, but.... I don't think about it, for the most part.  Unless there's a big donation drive, right? And then you just pick up a few canned goods or some paper products from the list and go with it. The thing is, though, there are always tons of things that fall through the cracks. Organizations like the Open Door have big needs for the people of West Central Missouri, and it can be hard for us in the public to remember what they need and what they don't need. So most of the time, they'll just go with the basics.  Keep it simple. After all, they don't want to overwhelm your memory by making lists, and they don't want to sound like that food donation was unwelcome, even if they may need other stuff, too.

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So I thought, why don't I just ASK? There has to be something they need down there that they can't really ask for too often. I can put the list together and people can consult it there when they have the time or resources to donate. Just like that Christmas list Timmy started last May. If you run out of ideas for his Birthday, just get one off the Xmas list you forgot.  Same thing here! Only, you know, with a charity that needs your help.  I reached out to the Open Door and I spoke with Michelle, their Director of Development.

Michelle first of all wanted to say thank you to everyone who donates or has donated, and was quick to say they're so grateful for what they get from the public. She did want to make sure people know that money is an easy and useful donation, so don't feel like if you don't want to haul some canned fruit and veggies around that you're a bad donator.  The monetary donations are good, they go a long way. And if you don't want to think about it and just add it to your budget, you can join the GEM Treasure Club. There are a ton of little perks like vouchers for the thrift shop and sneak peeks to events, so it's worth checking out.

Now, when it comes to stuff they physically need that you can pick up from the store, it turns out the office of the Open Door itself could use a few items. 'Cos you know how it is.  Just think about it for a second. They're focusing on helping those in need, not on whether or not the storage room has a working light bulb, for example. Of course they need to fix the light bulb, because you can't organize food donations you can't see, but it just keeps getting pushed back into "we'll take care of it later..", because they have kids and families to think about first. And sometimes there are just so many things to do, the stuff for their operations is lowest priority.

Even though to me, it should be a little higher on the list to make sure they can, you know, get stuff done.  Love yourself, right? Right. Isn't that what we always tell our Moms?  You have to take care of yourself sometimes, or you won't be able to take care of anyone else.  Same thing!

Well, now's the time! Michelle asked her staff what they thought.  They took a couple days, talked about it amongst themselves, and got back to me. Here's a list for the next time you head to the store.

Office supplies: tape, whiteout, printer paper, pens, note pads.
Ink and Toner for our printers
Paper products: paper towels and toilet paper
Spices for our Kitchen
Paper products for our kitchen, plastic forks & spoons, paper cups, napkins, etc.
Clamshell to-go containers for our kitchen
Metal Shelving for our breakrooms, the kitchen, and our pantry
Hygiene items for our client hygiene bags such as wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, travel size items, medicine, bruise cream, Band-Aids, and similar items
Cat food & dog food
Replacement fluorescent lights for all 3 of our buildings.
Specialty services such as repairs for our vehicles and oil changes, tire rotations, and tune-ups.
Items and time given to reduce or eliminate our supply and repair costs.

So maybe you're working in an auto shop and you don't want to commit to donating money every quarter.  You could offer to give one of their vehicles an oil change.   Or if you work in a hardware store, maybe you could drop off a few fluorescents.   Or if you're in an office, you could ask to order some extra pens, paper and White Out to donate.  Or maybe you're just a doofus like me who for some reason has more pens then you know how to...shake a pen at.  Donate them!   It's time to think outside the can of beans and see what we can do, Sedalia!

If nothing else, hopefully this will inspire you to pick up a few things here and there where you can, and donate them.   I'll keep you updated on other ways you can help the Open Door, though, so keep it here.

Donatingly yours,

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