Items Needed

When considering what Cubans need, the best advice is to look around and decide what material items in your own life are basic necessities for you. In Cuba, everything is in short supply. Many tourists tell of children begging for soap or money or food. My own experience was exactly that.Think of what you need on a daily basis, and that will be your best guideline. Also consider that in Cuba a doctor or a teacher often makes no more than thirty dollars a month. (This is not a misprint.)

This list is provided for reference.

Medical Supplies

  • Urgent need for asthma spray, including replacement cartridges for inhalers
  • Urgent need for vitamins C and E
  • Antibiotics
  • Allergy medication
  • Vitamins
  • Any over-the-counter medication
  • Standard (non-prescription) reading glasses
  • Pediatric medications, vitamins, and supplies


  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Balls
  • Small toys or games where language is not required such as cards, etc. (A friend takes used tennis balls to Cuba, and the children love them.)
  • (High-tech or other battery-powered games will have a limited life, since batteries are not available.)


  • Soap
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Sanitary Napkins
  • Men's toiletries
  • Bath powder for the heat
  • Anti-fungal creams and powders

Clothing (warm weather)

  • T-shirts and short sleeve pullovers
  • Short pants
  • Jeans
  • Light sweaters and jackets
  • Clean, new or almost-new, dress-up items
  • Clothing (for warm weather only)
  • T-shirts and short sleeve pullovers particularly for children 7-13 years oldâ
  • Short pants
  • Jeans
  • Light sweaters and jackets
  • Clean, new or almost-new, dress-up items
  • Children's shoes - new or like newâ
  • Adult walking shoes for all ages - new or like new


  • High protein foods, such as sardines and tuna
  • Powdered milk
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts

Miscellaneous Items (not really necessities, but things to add fun to life)

  • Hard candies
  • Chewing gum
  • Pens and pencils
  • Writing pads
  • Samples of perfume

Reading and Religious Materials

  • Prayer books in Hebrew and Spanish
  • Educational books, medical, engineering, etc.
  • Yarmulkes, tefillin, prayer shawls, menorahs, yahtzeit candles

-The Cuban Government does not allow out-of-date medicine.
-Food and other items should be as compact as possible, otherwise shipping is prohibitive.
-Clothing should be new or almost new.