I remember clothing drives being held throughout my neighborhood. Some were expected around the holidays, others would pop up randomly to help a family facing some sort of turmoil. Natural disasters, house fires, and a series of unfortunate events have brought many communities together to help their neighbors.
While many of us are blessed enough to have far more than we need, others are less fortunate. Organizing and holding clothing drives is an excellent way to share the relative wealth with those who could use a little help.
Interested in cleaning out those closets for a (really) good cause? Here are the basics to save you some time and headaches.
Link Up With A Local Partner
While it might be tempting to jump in and start collecting a bunch of stuff that you then have to organize and process, it’s worth reaching out to some local organizations, including homeless shelters, the Salvation Army, Goodwill, The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, and The National Coalition for the Homeless. All of these organizations have years of experience and some insight into what the community might be able to use. They may even be willing to get involved with the clothing drive, which brings me to my next point.
Build A Team
The more hands on deck, the better. There will be a lot of little things that need to be taken care of: collections, sorting, packing, storing, displays, and deliveries will need to be managed and handled. Larger events should have larger teams and maybe even a couple of locations.
What’s The Goal?
Setting a goal creates something concrete to work for and helps us hold ourselves accountable. As an individual and a team, commit to collecting a certain number of boxes or items and a set number of people. It’s a good idea to aim high while remaining flexible in the event that you overshoot or come up short in goals. Set your goals and work towards them.
Drop-Offs, Locations, and Timeframes
Mark the ideal collection locations for the drive; this can be anywhere that makes sense. Choose your collection days; it’s best to have several days because limiting people to one day has drawbacks. You should also consider how long the team will need to sort through and organize the donations to prepare for the next round of pick-ups or drop-offs.
Spread The Word
Utilize as many different channels as possible to spread the word. Make flyers and posters and distribute them throughout town. If you use social media, they can be excellent platforms for sharing information. Get an advertisement in the local newspaper, tack them up in libraries, and pin them at laundromats. If the drive is meant to be something large-scale or ongoing, consider making an official website.
Sort The Blessings
Once donations start rolling in, start pre-sorting to avoid a mountain of clothes to deal with later. Sort your items according to what different organizations told you they needed or in whichever order makes the most sense for the purpose. Pack what will be delivered and prepare what might be on the tables.
This is the moment we’ve been building up to, the reason it all started. Take the blessings and distribute them to those who can use them. Some organizations or individuals will pick up boxes; sort that out beforehand.
Finally, share the success! Documenting the experience and sharing the details tends to motivate others. Share what you know and learn from others. It’s all for a good cause.
Photo by Alexander Grey (Pexels.com)