Recently the Heart of West Michigan United Way put out an all call asking for help from the community by asking for donations for basic necessities, to help people in need right here in our community. We always hear about fancy galas, raffles and big budget donation drives, but these aren't the only way you can help.

It may not feel like it some days, but more than likely you can probably find at least one reason to consider yourself lucky. Maybe you have a job you enjoy, or a house you're happy to come home to. Perhaps you're just happy with the people who surround you every day.

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My personal belief is that if you're able to give back to your community, you always should. You'll feel better knowing you helped another person. But, sometimes donating time or money can feel daunting, especially if you don't have a lot to give yourself.

Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective
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For example, recipients of SNAP are given money for groceries, but that funding unfortunately does not cover the cost of other basic needs like toilet paper, cleaning supplies or toiletries. These small ticket items can make a big impact for a family or individual who live on a tight budget.

Some of the items they are looking for include:

1. Toothbrushes / Toothpaste

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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2. Shampoo

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Karin Lau/ThinkStock
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3. Soap

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4. Deodorant

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5. Toilet Paper

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So if you're able to help, you'll make a difference to people who need it the most here in West Michigan.

Want to help? Stop in March 1st to March 15th at any Macatawa Bank and drop your items off there. You can also use the United Way shopping list, found at roonga.com, to buy items online and have them sent directly.

But, that's not the only way you can help an organization in need here in West Michigan. Currently the Red Cross is still trying to make up for the critical blood shortage announced earlier this year, and is offering a $10 gift card if you donate.

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Or if you're got a gently used/extra coat laying around, the Grand Rapids Mayor's Youth Council is hosting a coat drive to help teens and young adults in the area stay warm.

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So here's your friendly reminder: giving back to your community doesn't have to look like $500 checks or buying a ticket to a fancy gala. Sometimes, it can be as simple as picking up an extra toothpaste for a neighbor in need the next time you're at Meijer.

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