Cuban girl resting on porch.
Cuban girl rests on porch

When going to Cuba, be a saint. Donate.

Best gift and donation list for Cubans

Cubans warmly welcome gifts, however small. Everything you contribute is an overture of friendship – and a great ice-breaker. Cubans lack many basic items we in North America take for granted.

Your new Cuban friends will love you

Giving gifts to your new island friends is a wonderful and rewarding humanitarian overture. It’s a great way to ameliorate the cruel effects of the US economic blockade of Cuba. The explicit purpose of this policy is to hurt the Cuban people.

We suggest giving donations to Cuban NGOs, schools, clinics, and religious organizations. This way, Cuban families and communities most in need benefit from your generosity.

Many of the items most needed can be purchased at dollar stores.

Gifts children and schools need most

  • Toys for kids, jacks, pick up sticks, puzzles, frisbees, yo-yos, tops.
  • Any and all kinds of art supplies.
  • Musical instruments, guitar strings, reeds for wind instruments. Metronomes, pitch pipes, tuning forks, sheet music.
  • Theatre make-up, ballet slippers.
  • Baseball bats, balls and gloves, footballs, sports helmets, and padding.
  • School supplies of all kinds, colored pencils, coloring books, note pads, crayons, coloring books, etc.
  • Laptops and tablets, no more than four years old.
  • Spanish/English dictionaries, and English phrasebooks.
  • Used cell phones in good condition (max one per traveler).

Gifts for women and families

  • Aspirin and substitutes, Band-Aids, multiple vitamins, and vitamins A, B, C, D, E.
  • Medical gloves and masks, medical thermometers.
  • Female hygiene products, adult diapers, and baby diapers.
  • Summer season clothing and shoes.
  • Sheets, pillowcases, bath towels, and dishcloths (tea towels).
  • Kitchen gloves and sponges.
  • USB memory sticks (a favorite).
  • Chocolates, costume jewelry, make-up, hair scrunchies.
  • T-shirts, caps with neat logos, sunglasses, key chains.
  • AA batteries! Boring, yes. But they are scarce and costly.
  • Reading glasses for elders.

Do not bring these items to Cuba as gifts

  • Live plants and seeds.
  • Outdated school textbooks.
  • Expired medicine or vitamins.
  • Old or non-functioning computers.
  • Things considered to be weapons.
  • Walkie-talkies.

Where do I take my gifts for Cubans?

We’re glad to help you help Cubans. We can suggest worthy organizations to receive your donations. Email us with your gift ideas and questions.