Our tip is donate if you can, because scarcity of basic goods in Cuba is real. A lot of our guests told us that during their trip planning, they were doubting about what and how to donate to the Cuban people. Clothing, footwear and any medicine from the most basic like aspirin, anti diarrhea pills, ibuprofen, bandages etc. to the more advanced like syringes are the most needed. Other goods that will come in handy are school supplies and any toy you could think of.
The best way is donating the items directly to the people. Specifically for medicine, ask for the nearest hospital or policlinic and donate there directly. In Cuba there are terrific doctors, but there is a tremendous need for resources! Or you could go directly to a school and give school supplies to a teacher.
Another way is by observing people on the street and follow your intuition about how you could help. Cubans are friendly and very easy to connect with, so don't feel shy to approach them. For example, if you see a person walking with shoes that are completely worn out, you could give an old pair of your shoes. If you see a boy or girl playing with an old ball, surprise him or her with a new one. Kids love to play with marbles, so they would go crazy for ones with cool colors!
Also, you could give goods to owners of guest houses, or casas particulares, during your stay there. We have to be honest that generally people working in tourism are nowadays the richest of Cuban society. However, normally Cuban families are very extensive, so the guest house owner might give it to their poor relatives or neighbors. Again, follow your intuition! We as guest house owners, if we receive a donation we always give it to doctors, nurses, teachers or our neighbors and family members all of whom need these things the most.
We thank you in advance for your donations!