Volunteering or having a drive for homeless shelters is one of the most common service projects. Why not put a twist on the traditional? Consider these stories/ideas to inspire your next service project or simple act of kindness: 

  1. Key Club districts hold numerous board meetings and conventions throughout the year. When attending these events, Key Clubbers often collect their unused hotel toiletries for future donations. Homeless shelters always need toiletries, and this is a clever and easy way to quickly collect an abundance of them. 

  2. In California, the Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center Merced partnered with the Merced Adventist Church to collect and fill 100 Altoids mint tins with essentials such as Q-tips, alcohol pads, needles and thread, and fingernail clippers to hand out to the homeless. The medical center’s marketing director, Bob McLaughlin, explained that Altoids tins are the perfect size to hold mini essentials and easily fit in someone’s pocket. This ingenious project gives a typically trashed item a new purpose. 

  3. Socks are always at the top of the “needed” list for homeless shelters. A great way to raise a mass quantity is by holding a sock drive. Here’s how:

  • Determine the type of sock drive you want to holda one-day event; a drive accompanied by a social event; or a school, work or church collection completed within a determined time frame. Pick the option that is most realistic for your club. 
  • Determine when, how long and where the drive will be, and establish where donations will be collected. 
  • Identify organizations in need of socks and find out what types they could best use. 
  • Advertise with flyers and social media posts.
  • Decorate the donation collection boxes.
  • Send reminders about the event one week prior, three days prior, one day prior and the day of the event.
  • Have fun!

Volunteering for a homeless shelter is a great way to get involved with your community. Just remember that service also can be creative and always think outside the box, while simultaneously considering the needs of those you’re impacting.