What Homeless People Need Most

Making a Difference at Opportunity House 

At Opportunity House, the impact of our donors’ generosity resonates through the lives of those experiencing homelessness in Berks County. We are dedicated to caring for over 500 individuals annually, and this commitment necessitates an extensive inventory of basic essentials for daily living. When you donate to homeless shelters like Opportunity House your contribution can significantly impact the lives of those in need. 

What are the Biggest Needs of Homeless People? 

It’s not always obvious what homeless people or homeless shelters need most. As you contemplate contributing to our cause, please consider the following items. Your donations can go a long way in improving the well-being of individuals in very challenging circumstances: 


  • Toothpaste and Toothbrushes. Basic oral hygiene products are often taken for granted, but they hold immense importance for those without a stable living situation. Your donation of toothpaste and toothbrushes can bring smiles to faces that have endured hardships.
  • Shampoo. Access to clean, personal hygiene products can restore a sense of normalcy for people experiencing homelessness. We request shampoo in plastic bottles only to ensure safety, practicality and convenience.
  • Liquid Body Wash.  Liquid body wash offers a more hygienic option over bar soap for maintaining cleanliness, making it an essential item to donate.
  • Shaving Cream and Disposable Razors for Men and Women: Personal grooming can often be overlooked in dire circumstances. Your donation of shaving cream and disposable razors empowers individuals to care for themselves with dignity.


  • Men’s T-shirts and underwear (in sizes M, L, XL, XXL)
  • Women’s underwear (in sizes S, M, L, XL, 2XL)

Clothing items like these are crucial for providing comfort and dignity for homeless people with limited wardrobes.

Menstrual Supplies

  • Tampons
  • Disposable or Reusable Pads

Lack of access to menstrual supplies is a very serious issue for those experiencing homelessness.  When girls and women don’t have access to the menstrual supplies they need, they avoid going to school or going to work.  By providing these our female clients are confident, comfortable and can continue to move forward on their journey from homelessness..

Infant and Toddler Supplies

When people think of what homeless shelters need most, many never consider babies, infants, toddler and small children as part of the homeless population staying at Opportunity House. Our smallest clients depend on your support to provide diapers in all sizes while their parents can focus on providing safe, stable housing for them.

  • Diapers and Pull Ups: For families with young children, diapers (sizes 2, 3, and up) and pull-ups (in all sizes) are indispensable. These items relieve parents of one of their most pressing concerns, allowing them to focus on rebuilding their lives.

By generously donating these items to Opportunity House, you extend a lifeline of care to those facing adversity. Your contribution resonates beyond the physical items; it sends a powerful message of compassion, reminding our clients that their community stands with them. 

To find out what needs are currently most pressing at our shelter, please call our Main Office at 610-374-4696 ext. 221

How Does Donating Items to the OppShop Help? 

Did you know that your donations of gently used clothing and household items to OppShop directly benefit Opportunity House? When you donate items such as clothing, shoes, belts, jackets, coats, and sneakers, you’re making a significant impact on the lives of our clients. At Opportunity House, these items are more than material possessions—they represent a pathway to autonomy and control for individuals navigating the challenges of homelessness.  You can find the OppShop at 3045 N 5th Street, Reading.

When clients arrive at our shelter in need of clothing, we provide transportation to OppShop. At OppShop, they can choose their essential clothing items at no cost, providing them a sense of independence and empowerment during an otherwise stressful time. Your donations provide clean, gently used clothing that restores dignity and fosters hope among shelter participants. 

Donations to homeless shelter

Creating Impact Through Contribution 

Your donations don’t just provide physical items; they create a ripple effect of positive change in the lives of those in need. As you consider contributing to Opportunity House, remember that your support extends far beyond the items themselves. It represents hope, dignity, and the promise of a brighter future for individuals experiencing homelessness in Berks County. Together, we can make a difference and uplift our community, one donation at a time. 

Ways to Help

Donate Money Donate Items Volunteer

A Legacy of Compassion and Support 

Since in 1984, Opportunity House has been a steadfast refuge for men, women, families, and veterans experiencing homelessness. Beyond emergency shelter, we are committed to offering supportive and permanent housing to individuals on their journey to recovery. 





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