Helping women in need this holiday season

We share five ways to ensure your donations make their way to women in need

  • Follow the organization’s policies and procedures for gift giving.
  • Your time and talents are valuable gifts.
  • Look for the organization’s wish list to guide your purchases.


Homelessness and hardship don’t take a holiday if you’re one of the many women who are struggling to find safe, affordable housing. Community organizations and programs provide some relief, offering invaluable services and a sense of hope.

For example:

Nonprofit organizations like Mary’s Place provide a much-needed community service by offering food, shelter, employment services and housing assistance to vulnerable women and families in need who are right here in our community. The organization shares information about support groups, information, and much-needed resources to help ensure a brighter future. Find out how to get involved.

The Health for Good campaign at Swedish focuses on community service and looks beyond the hospital walls to practice care in the neighborhoods in which we live.  The program is based on the premise that when you feel good, you do good. And when you do good, we all are better for it.

It’s difficult to predict the impact a donation of time, money, goods or services can have on someone’s life. It doesn’t take a crystal ball, however, to know that without those gifts many women and their families will fall through the cracks.

How can I help?

Here are some ways to make sure that your donations make their way directly to those in need this season.

Contact the organization in advance.

Before you go out and purchase a long list of items, contact the shelter you want to help and ask what they need. Don’t assume you know best. You may be surprised by what makes their most wanted list.

Follow the donation policy

Some shelters have room to store donations like car seats, furniture or bedding. Others have limited space. Some welcome used goods while other take only new merchandise. Contact the shelter to find out the details of what they can and cannot accept.

Get there on time

Check the hours the shelter is open to accept donations before you go. Some shelters have limited days or hours during which donations can be dropped off. You don’t want to show up when there’s no one there to receive your gift and making multiple trips is inconvenient—especially during the hectic holiday season.


If you want to help but can’t afford to make a donation, consider volunteering your time. Many shelters depend on volunteers to fill their staffing needs and provide vital services. Sharing your time and talents is an invaluable way to support women in the community who need your help.

Make a list and check it twice

Local shelters and other organizations that work to get women the help they need to rebuild their lives may publish a “wish list” that outlines exactly what products they need the most. This often includes items like:

  • Feminine hygiene products, like tampons or sanitary pads
  • Gift cards for groceries, gas, prescription medicine or other essentials
  • Toiletries like shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes and lotion
  • Baby wipes are helpful for people who don’t have regular access to shower or bathroom facilities
  • Socks and underwear are among the most requested items needed by women’s shelters
  • Diapers and pull ups for babies and toddlers
  • Clean blankets help provide comfort and warmth for a good night’s sleep

Note that many shelters that serve women and families need help and supplies year-round. As you’re making your donation of goods or time this holiday season, consider what you can do to support them at other times during the year as well.

Find a doctor

The team at Swedish takes their commitment to the community seriously. We donate countless hours and thousands of dollars to provide services and programs that make a difference in the lives of the friends and families we’re proud to call our neighbors. Find a doctor you can trust in our provider directory.

Share the ways you’re paying it forward this holiday season at #HealthForGood with the readers @swedish.

Related resources

Swedish partners with the community in the fight to end homelessness in Seattle

Swedish Community Benefit Report

Girl power: 6 ways to raise strong daughters

Mary’s Place: Shelter and resources for homeless women, children, and families

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

Our philosophy for well being is looking at the holistic human experience. As such, the Swedish Wellness & Lifestyle Team is committed to shining a light on health-related topics that help you live your healthiest life. From nutrition to mindfulness to annual screenings, our team offers clinically-backed advice and tips to help you and your loved ones live life to the fullest.

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