Saturday, 14 November 2009

Clothing Donation Guidelines

"Beggars can't be chosers," some may say.  I say every person is inherently worthy of a minimum level of dignity. 

When I deliver a donation of clothing, on behalf of our association, my intention is to convey a sense of inclusion, belonging and worth to the recipients.  If I deliver dirty clothing full of holes, am I not telling the recipients that they deserve only dirty clothing full of holes?  And if I deliver clean, quality clothing am I not telling the recipients that no matter who they are or what they have done they are nonethless worthy of fresh, clean clothing?

Yesterdayy Regina and I visited a daycare center for disadvantaged children and youth.  We delivered several bags of recently donated warm clothing, shoes, winter coats and accessories.  One of the things the social workers told us is that the parents of these children never wash the kids' clothes, that they find them balled up in the corners of rooms, taking on mold.  How could I bring clothing that is musty, very wrinkled, stained and unmended, thereby giving them the message that their parents must be right:  they are not worth the effort?

The bags of clothing I sorted through today were not given directly by our association.  Nonetheless I would like to take this opportunity to give our members a few guidelines on clothing donations.

Nearly half of what I received a few days ago is still on my living room floor.  Half of that is unusable and I will find a place for it.  The other half could be washed and ironed -- except that I have my own mountain of laundry to deal with.  I'll have to decide if I want to do that.

1.  If you really can not see yourself or your children wearing an item, please do not donate it;
2.  Please do not donate panties, boxers or hosiery unless it has been barely worn and looks nearly new;
3.  Please take the time to mend or patch holes in otherwise gently used items;
4.  Please launder and iron all donations one last time before storing them (of course, wrinkles are to be expected when stored in bags);
5.  If you have washed a wool item and it has shrunk to a quarter of its size, please give it to your cat or dog -- or use it for your next felting project;
6.  Make sure shoes are still in good condition (scuffs are perfectly acceptable; paint scraped away till there's practically nothing left and heels with nails sticking out are not);
7.  Try not to store your donations too long; you can contact me anytime and I will come pick up;
8.  Use good sense and remember that there are human beings on the other side of your donations.

Thank you for your kindness!
IWAV Charity Coordinator

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