Organizations work to provide affordable clothing in the harsh season



Max Hess and Max Hess

Thrift stores like Goodwill are useful for saving money, but the other side of the equation — donation — is to many, an important moral duty, especially during the cold winter months. A selection of local charities exist to ensure that people don’t have to be cold and homeless during the harsh season.

The First Presbyterian Church on South Church Street has a crew of six people who come in to sort the things that have been donated and then put them into the shop, says Mary Jane Saunders, the church’s co-pastor. Saunders believes that while winter is the most important season for clothing donations, it’s beneficial to donate year-round.

“We ask for things in-season because that helps a lot. On the third floor we store things like winter coats, even if they’re donated during the summer, because it’s something that people really need,” she said.

In cases where too many clothes are donated or some of them are not usable, the First Presbyterian Church has arrangements with Easter Seals and Salvation Army for clothing that can’t be used to be sent out for fabric recycling or refurbishing.

It’s important for people to know that getting donated clothes from the church has a no-questions-asked policy, according to Saunders.

“There’s not an expectation that you have to be destitute to get them, we like to see the clothes recycled, so particularly we’ve encouraged college students to come and take a look and see if there are things that are helpful to them. Quite often people have been able to get a suit for a job interview or something. We’d like for more and more people to not only donate clothes, but come and take what is there,” she said.

The Fringe, a thrift store located in Woodland Park Mall, sells articles of clothing for a single dollar. Lead staff member Sally Green says they share donations with agencies such as the Cocoon and the Salvation Army. They also assist people who have suffered from fires and other serious losses. She also mentions that about one fourth of the clothes donated to The Fringe cannot be sold due to holes, rips and stains.

“We don’t sell anything with holes on it, spots on it, whatever. That might be a fourth of what we receive. At that point we set up a program to give it to another place called Our Earth that helps people around the world. If it has a stain or something on it, it’s still good clothing, it’s just not something that we could sell,” she said.

The Fringe needs clothes year-round and is currently asking for donations of summer and back-to-school clothes for kids of Wood County.

“When we get to that point in October, usually, the Salvation Army does a backpack giveaway and we send vouchers for each backpack for the people to come over and shop for school clothes for their kids. It’s usually a $5 per-child voucher,” Green said.