Caveat: Sometimes Your Donated Clothes Don’t Always Go to the Needy
Unfortunately, as I began researching this post, I discovered a couple of articles (over at ABCNews and ApartmentTherapy) that tell of a shadier side to the clothing-donation story–sometimes donated clothes don’t end up immediately clothing needy people in our neighborhoods, but instead are shipped elsewhere and SOLD for profit. (Check out CharityWatch.org to find out about charities like Planet Aid, which has been reselling its donated items instead of just “keeping them out of landfills”). Not exactly what I was intending when I thought of donating my clothes!
Solution: Donate to Vetted Charities–or Better Yet, Community Needs
So far, Dress for Success, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Vietnam Veterans of America are all good charities for clothing donation. Additionally, you can sell items through eBay and donate to American Red Cross through eBay’s GivingWorks program.
But if you REALLY want your clothing to alleviate an immediate need, donate directly to your local community, as this Moneycrashers article says. Helping out with local church or school clothing drives, donating to local thrift stores and community outreach centers, and most especially donating to homeless shelters and missions can really help! Also, ask around in your neighborhood and see if there’s a needy family who could use the sizes and types of clothes you have–you can just take the clothes directly to their house, no middleman required!
Though donating clothes to the needy has been a little overcomplicated (and corrupted with greed, unfortunately), there are still plenty of places who will take your used clothing and directly help someone else in need. Just make sure you vet the place first so that you know your donations are going where you intended!