Giving Away Old Clothes to the Needy

It may not come as a surprise to hear that the textiles industry is one of the largest in the entire world, producing bedsheets, linens, and certainly clothes of all sorts every year. After all, everyone needs clothing to wear for everyday life, formal events, sleepwear, and work and military uniforms. And that is not even counting accessories such as shoes, gloves, hats, glasses, scarves, and more. The United States in particular is the world’s largest market and producer alike for these textiles, and every year, the American textiles market continues to grow. The average American buys twice as many clothes as they did just 20 years ago, and the typical American woman has one outfit for every day of the month (as opposed to just nine in 1930).

What about excess clothes, and donations? Textiles are very much possible to recycle, reuse, and donate, and Americans are always encouraged to contribute to organizations that pick up donations and helping families in need. Clothing donation locations may be found when a person looks online, with a query such as “children in need clothing”. Looking up “children in need clothing San Diego CA,” for example, may show some local results, or searching for “children in need clothing” along with the seeker’s ZIP code. This may further refine the search if so desired. What is there to know about today’s textiles industry and the collective effort to donate clothes and other goods to the needy?

Making Use of Old Clothes

The bad news is that not all used clothes actually end up going to the needy or even being recycled. Statistics show that textiles rank poorly among all industries that deal with recyclable materials, well behind glass, steel, plastic, and paper. Estimates say that only 15% of old textiles in the United States end up being reused or recycled, with the majority of old clothes being discarded and sent straight to landfills, where they don’t do anyone any good. This works out to millions of tons of old clothes lost this way per year, and the average American discards 70 pounds of textiles, clothing and otherwise, annually. Some old clothes are shredded and formed into industrial rags or make furniture stuffing, but many would argue that it’s much more humanitarian to donate old clothes to charity instead.

It’s not all bad news, however. Americans have long since proven themselves to be charitable, and American citizens regularly donate clothing, old bedsheets or kids’ toys, books, food, and even their income to charity. Some 95.4% of all American donate to charity one way or another, and many millions of old clothes are donated like this, especially during the winter holiday time such as Christmas and Hanukkah. This shows that increasing and improving the rate of charity is a matter of making further use of the existing charitable spirits. Americans are already interested in donating, so an effort can be made to simply push that charitable spirit to a new level.

Make a Fine Donation

Most American households, at least those above the poverty line, have many more items and clothes than the people there use or even need. This is not to assign blame to those people, but rather, show that charity can be done even by ordinary Americans who think they don’t have much to give. To the contrary, many Americans have far more clothes and accessories than they even wear, and donations are always a possibility.

To begin with, everyone in a household can gather all clothes and personal accessories from across the house and assemble them into a large inventory. This way, it’s convenient and efficient to sort through the entire house’s worth of clothes and accessories, and decide what to donate versus what to keep. Donation-worthy clothes may be worn out, redundant, the wrong size, or otherwise undesirable, and they can be packed into boxes or bags for easy transport. Then, someone can look up local charity donations sites if they don’t already know one, such as looking up “children in need clothing Dallas TX” or “charity sites near me” and enter their ZIP code. Such sites are typically open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, meaning that a donor can visit them at their leisure.

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