Where to donate your stuff - Lake and Cook County Charities E-mail

Are you stressed out trying to shove all your new holiday gifts into already over-stuffed closets and cabinets?  Are you thinking it’s time to get rid of a bunch of items in your home?  Are you possibly wanting to help others in need?  This column includes a list of places that could really benefit from items you’d like to discard or kindly purchase for donation.


 A Safe Place

A Safe Place, located in Lake County, provides emergency shelter for battered women and children.  They also provide a 20–unit affordable housing program, court advocacy and counseling.

 A Safe Place wants to empower their clients and each family takes care of their own living space and laundry.  “We have a 35 bed shelter that is always full,” says Phyllis A. DeMott, Executive Director of A Safe Place.  “If you just think about how much you spend on toiletries and other necessities and multiply it by 35—those are the things we need throughout the year for the women and children that come to us.”

 DeMott says the top 5 items they’d love to receive are: cleaning supplies, laundry detergent and softener, paper products like diapers, paper towels and toilet paper, new sweats and underwear in all sizes (many times people come in and have nothing except what they’re wearing) and non-perishable food.  (They provide 3 meals a day for 35 people.)

 “I hope people who donate understand they’re making so many lives so much brighter,” says DeMott.  “The people receiving the items aren’t in their own homes because they weren’t safe.  These women and children wouldn’t have anything without the community support.”  To donate to A Safe Place call 847-731-7165 or visit www.asafeplaceforhelp.org.

PADS (Providing Advocacy, Dignity and Shelter) Crisis Services, Inc.  PADS provides emergency shelter, permanent housing and support services to families with children and homeless individuals in Lake County.  Currently, PADS has no room for clothes but would love fresh food, household goods, cleaning supplies and school supplies.  To get in touch with PADS call 847-689-4357 or visit www.lakecountypads.org.

Shelter, Inc.

Shelter, Inc. provides emergency housing for abused and neglected children and adolescents in the north and northwest suburbs.  They accept volunteers and donations any day of the year.  Shelter, Inc. has a thrift store located in Schaumberg and accepts clothing, toys, books, furniture, small household items and small appliances.  All proceeds directly benefit Shelter’s programs.  To donate, call the thrift store at 847-534-0276, visit www.shelter-inc.org or call 847-590-6188, ext. 22 to volunteer.

Vernon Township Food Pantry and Wheeling Township Food Pantry:

The Vernon Township Food Pantry (847-634-4600, www.vernontownship.com) and Wheeling Township Food Pantry (847-259-7730, www.wheelingtownship.com) accept donations of non-perishable food, toiletries and paper products all year and provide help solely to their residents.  At the present time, Vernon Township Food Pantry is serving over 110 families per month and Wheeling Township is serving over 300 families per month.  “We have been seeing a higher demand lately due to people going through financial crisis,” says Phelma Talamantes, Director of General Assistance at Wheeling Township Food Pantry. “People in our community have been very generous and we appreciate ongoing food donations.” 


WINGS provides help for Cook and Lake county residents.  “We provide a 45-bed emergency shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence,” says Terri Channer, Senior Director of Development for WINGS.  “We also provide transitional housing for up to 2 years, case management and counseling.”

“WINGS never turns a donation away,” says Channer. “We have an ongoing wish list which includes things that families need all the time— clothes, diapers (especially the bigger sizes), paper goods, canned goods, new bedding, soaps, detergents, cleaning products, feminine products, alarm clocks, watches, pajamas, slippers, aspirin, garbage bags and gift cards to places like Walmart or Target.”  

WINGS will take donations at the shelter or at one of their three resale stores.  For those uncomfortable giving to a resale shop, “The resale stores provide about 30% of the residents’ income,” says Channer.  “If items are used for resale the money goes back to the residents.  People in the program also shop at the resale store.” To donate to WINGS call 847-519-7820 or go to www.wingsprogram.com.

The following places will pick up donated items from your home:

AMVETS- Call 708-388-7800 visit www.ilamvets.org.

The Ark- Call 773-248-1117 or visit www.arkchicago.org.

Cancer Federation- Call 800-962-3260 or go to www.cftruck.com.

Military Order of the Purple Heart- Call 708-396-8995 or go to www.purpleheartpickup.org/request.php. 

The National Children’s Cancer Society- Call 888-875-4066 or visit www.nccstruck.com.

Salvation Army- Call 847-662-7730 or 888-574-2587 or go to www.salarmychicago.org.

These places accept similar items that you drop off:

Goodwill- Call 847-670-7311 or 847-566-0636 or visit www.amazinggoodwill.com.

ORT- Call 847-433-1697 or visit www.ortchicago.org. 

Hope this list was helpful!  To contact me about future columns email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit www.susandubin.com.

© 2008 Susan Dubin, Buffalo Grove, Illinois