Clothing Drive Organized by Congregation Beth El

Impact Area

Help Neighbors in Need

Volunteer Group Name & URL

Congregation Beth El

Organization Served & URL

Interfaith Clothing Center

Project Goal/Description

To collect all types of presentable clothing (new and used), shoes, and accessories for the Interfaith Clothing Center. People from the community donate clothing, shoes, and accessories by bringing new and used items to the Temple on a Sunday morning. During the three hour collection period, volunteers sort through everything that is donated. They remove anything that either has stains or other features that make them unpresentable. Then another group of volunteers transport the donations after the collection drive ends.

Timeline for Planning

4 weeks out: Request space where donation drives will take place.

3 - 4 weeks out: Advertise the drive by putting in a request for clothing and volunteers in the publications of the Temple and in weekly email notices. Continue until week of event.

2 weeks out: Touch base with the Interfaith Clothing Center which will receive the donations.

Less than 1 week after: Thank the Temple and its members for helping and participating.

The organizers have done the project for several years so they have the format down and plan the activity within a month of the project.

How Many Volunteers

Usually a total of about 20 volunteers are involved- 2 lead organizers of the overall event, 3 to 5 sorters of the donated items, 5 to 6 drivers of the clothing collected to the Interfaith Clothing Center. This is a great opportunity for children and families as well as for those seeking student service learning hours.

How Was This Publicized to Recruit Volunteers?

This is one of the many community service projects performed by Congregation Beth El as part of an annual “Mitzvah Day.” The project has been done for several years so there is a core group of people who help out each year, and new people respond to the notices sent out. Teenagers can get Student Service Learning (SSL) hours for this project.

Required Facilities, Materials & Expenses

Facilities/Space: Room where donations can be dropped, tables for sorting, and cars for driving donations to the clothing center. Project supplies: Trash bags, scotch tape, markers, stick on labels (for trash bags), photocopies of donation forms for tax receipts and directions for drivers, snacks for volunteers.  The Temple covers some of these expenses so that the budget for this project is minimal and just depends on what types of snacks are bought.

Challenges

One challenge is estimating the right number of drivers. “You don’t want to come up short, but you also don’t want to waste people’s time,” says co-organizer Leslie Dellon. Also, deciding what clothing is acceptable and usable may be challenging.

Group Type

Faith

Strategic Priority Addressed

Vital living for all our residents

Result

The collection typically yields about 20 to 25 large garbage bags full of clothing donations, including warm winter coats and clothing for men, women and children for all seasons of the year. “So much is donated, and it really doesn’t require that much time or monetary investment to get it done,” says co-organizer Leslie Dellon. The leaders do a write up for the Temple publication of how many bags are collected.

Special Points of Interest

  • Don’t begin sorting right when donations come in - give it some time so that you can see what has been donated.
  • Don’t micromanage volunteer sorters. Let them decide what goes where.
  • When sorting items, have a sign and place for items that are unsutiable for donation and should be discarded.
  • Plan to have two co-leaders in order to divide up the tasks and to have backup on the actual day of collection.
  • Make sure there is enough coffee, hot water, juice and snacks for volunteers.