Helping the Neediest in Cuba

Some items I gathered around my home to give to the neediest in Cuba. 

Some items I gathered around my home to give to the neediest in Cuba. 

After last week’s post about an elderly Cuban woman who cried when she received a gift of 8 apples, friends and family have asked how they can help.

The first thing you can do is to share this post with friends and family who are going to Cuba. (And who doesn't know someone who is going to Cuba these days?)

For those who are coming to Cuba, everything is wanted here, from daily items to simple pleasures. Look around your home and load your suitcase(s) with the following (you may want to check with your airline to find out what baggage restrictions apply to your flights):

  • new or used (but clean) towels, sheets, light cotton clothing like t-shirts, shorts, skirts, light pants, bras, underwear, socks
  • toiletries and medications like Tylenol and Advil (both adult and children's formulas), Benadryl, Neosporin, band-aids, digestion-related medicine like Alka-Seltzer or Pepto-Bismol, adult diapers, baby diapers, and other first-aid items
  • vitamins
  • toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, soap, razors, and deodorant
  • toys, new or used
  • simple English books or Spanish-English dictionaries, or books in Spanish
  • thumb drives (but not too many, because customs might take them away
  • pens, pencils, crayons, paints, and paintbrushes
  • sturdy shopping or gift bags

    This isn't an exhaustive listPlease feel free to comment on my Facebook page with your suggestions.

Before you arrive, contact me via my Facebook author page. I can put you in touch with charity workers to arrange a drop-off location for your donations. If you have time, you can personally meet the people to whom you will be giving. It's better to make your donations through the charities I've identified over the last two years than to give out randomly on the streets (especially if you're giving money).

Recently, I gathered a bunch of items from my home and donated them to two charities that I know. Even though we've had to ship many of our "consumables" for our two-year post since less is available here, we still managed to overestimate. Among the items that I donated yesterday were Daisy razors, lots of socks, deodorant, nail polish, cotton balls, and toothpaste. I threw in a tub of body lotion that my husband gave me for Christmas last year that I have barely touched. I had my kids gather up five toys each that they no longer wanted. I sneaked into their rooms later and threw in a few other stuffed animals and dolls that they never play with [hm!]. I added a few books, an English-Spanish dictionary, and art supplies. I also gave the charity workers some wrapping paper.

Happy New Year to everyone. I am thinking about how blessed my family and friends are, and I are am, even in this uncertain world.