Thank you for your interest in contributing in-kind donations to the IRC! Community assistance with early resettlement in the form of donations is an amazing way to immediately impact the lives of newly arrived refugees, and we welcome your help.
The primary beneficiaries of IRC donated goods are refugees from all over the world who have fled their homelands after experiencing life-threatening persecution and are unable to stay or return to his or her home country. The ability to provide a warm and welcoming home upon their arrival in the U.S. is paramount to their comfort and security. We ask that interested community members work within our capacity and requirements to ensure our resettlement efforts are comprehensive and equitable.
Please fill out the In-Kind Donation form listing what you would like to donate to the IRC in Oakland. You should hear back within one week of submitting the form.
- URGENT NEEDS: Our clients are currently in need of the following new items: pack and play cribs, pressure cookers, irons, tea kettles, and car seats. We are also looking for used sewing machines, standing lamps, and strollers.
- Gift cards are our most helpful donation, as they can be delivered directly to our office and given to clients to purchase what they need. After years of being denied the freedom of choice, you are providing a welcoming gift that will also serve as a cultural experience for the refugee. We suggest gift cards to Target, Food Maxx or Safeway in denominations of $25 or $50.
- Clipper cards are also extremely useful as our clients rely on public transportation to get around. Clipper cards in denominations of $75 can allow a client to get to and from work for a full month.
- Snacks and lunch for cultural orientation. Every Wednesday we host cultural orientation, or "America 101," for our newly arrived families. It is a long day, usually from 9:00-4:00 in our office. Help us serve culturally appropriate food by koby.heramil [at] rescue.org (subject: Cultural%20Orientation%20Lunch%20Sponsorship) (signing up) to sponsor a catered lunch for the families. We are also looking for snack items such as granola bars, dried fruit, and healthy bottled juices to give out to children during the long meeting.
- Bikes are a commonly requested item as they empower refugees to become self-sufficient with transportation. Our clients use bikes to run errands, get to and from a BART stop, or straight to work. We encourage donors to give helmets and locks along with the bike so our clients can be safe out on the road!
- Bundle kits. Bundles are ordered due to need. Please note that each bundle should be provided in quantities no larger than 5 at a time due to our limited storage space. Please koby.heramil [at] rescue.org (subject: Donation%20Drive) (email us) to set up a donation drive with your group for one or more of the following bundles.
Flat Donations Bundle to provide emergency assistance
Ongoing Needs Bundle to set up a new family
Adult Work Bag for new refugee employees
Home Necessities Bundle to keep their homes tidy
Bedroom Bundle to welcome them home
Kitchen Bundle to support their independence
Hygiene Bundle to give them dignity
Baby Bundle for new mothers
Check out our Amazon Wish List to purchase items that refugees have requested directly. We are able to provide a donation receipt upon receiving the items.
STORAGE: Our biggest challenge in accepting donations is storage. We do not have space to accept donations on site and rely on a paid storage facility to maintain an inventory our clients' need. If you are able to make a monthly contribution to storage, please koby.heramil [at] rescue.org (subject: Storage%20Contribution) (email the Donations Coordinator).
- Only approved items can be accepted by the IRC in Oakland. Our office has extremely limited storage space and we do our best to make sure we are collecting items that can be quickly distributed to clients for immediate use. In-kind donors are highly encouraged to not bring excess-items to drop-off. Extra items that are brought in for donation may be turned away due to a lack of space, lack of capacity to sort and distribute, and/or lack of immediate need by refugee families.
- Prior to any donation drives, you must receive approval from the Volunteer Coordinator. Our goal is to make sure your donations are fully utilized and to do so we must coordinate our efforts. The IRC retains the right to refuse any item procured without our knowledge.
- IRC does not have the ability to pick up donated items. The IRC can only accept items dropped off at our off-site donation space at a pre-arranged time (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).
- The IRC is a 501c3, nonprofit organization, and as such donations can be tax deductible. After donating an item, the IRC will provide you with a receipt with our tax ID information and a record of the items you donated. The IRC cannot place a value on the items you donated, so there will be space on the receipt for you to input that information as you see fit.
Can the IRC accept clothing donations?
Unfortunately, outside of new men's/women's professional-wear (suits, blouses/button-up shirts, dress shoes, briefcases), we are unable to accept every-day clothing donations. However, during the winter season, we can accept new or like-new winter coats, warm hats, scarves, and gloves.
Can the IRC accept toy donations?
The IRC cannot currently accept any toy donations. Due to extremely limited donation space, we encourage you to donate gift cards to department stores so children can pick out what they would like to play with.
Can the IRC accept furniture donations?
At this time we cannot accept furniture donations. We will make rare exceptions if the item is in excellent, like-new condition and the donor can arrange to deliver the furniture item directly to the refugee's house. We are only able to accept couches, table and chairs and bed frames. No used mattresses. A donor must be comfortable with a one to a two-week delay in arranging furniture drop-off.
Are there any items the IRC isn't able to accept?
Yes! Please view the entire list of items the IRC in Oakland is unable to accept below:
We are unable to accept any of the following items USED:
Computers over 4 years old
Washers, dryers, and TVs over 10 years old
If we have collected items for kits, how should we go about delivering those items to the IRC?
Kindly fill out the In-Kind Donation form and a staff member will respond within a week to discuss logistics of a donation drop-off.
Where else can I donate gently-used items?
Outside of other Resettlement Agencies in the Bay Area, like Jewish Family Services, Catholic Charities and Laos Family, organizations that accept gently-used items are: Salvation Army, Bay Area Rescue Mission, Operation Dignity and Goodwill. Here is a list of items accepted by each organization.
For more information, feel free to koby.heramil [at] rescue.org (subject: In-Kind%20Donations) (contact us by email) or by phone at 510-852-8924.