by MAGGIE SPAETH '23
During this Christmas season it is especially important to keep in mind all those who may be less fortunate than yourself. As the weather gets colder we tend to love staying inside and curling up with our blankets and hot cocoa. However not everyone has this privilege. According to Fox 19 news, it is reported that from January to November of 2020, there had been a 28% increase of unsheltered people living on the streets in Hamilton County alone. Shelters are underfunded and overcrowded, and it only worsens around the winter months. So, how can you help?
Clothes are a great place to start. Look through your closet and set aside items, especially coats, that don’t fit you anymore or you don’t wear and invite your friends and family to do the same. Then, instead of disposing of them, donate! There are many great institutions around Cincinnati that collect old clothes and resell them or redistribute them to those in need.
Some great places to donate include Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Dress for success. With over 30 locations in the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area, Goodwill is one of the most accessible thrift stores in our city. Not only does it provide affordable clothing and home supplies, Goodwill is also responsible for keeping over 100,000 Americans employed nationwide. Donating is quick and easy. You can go to any location around you and drop off your collected items in the bins by the marked entrances. Your clothes will be sorted, repriced, and sold at an affordable price to those who need it. Another great place to donate to would be Dress for Success in Norwood. Their focus is to empower women in the Cincinnati area to achieve economic independence by providing emotional support, professional clothing, and developmental tools to use in work and in life. You can support them by donating money on their website, volunteering, or donating clothes, shoes, toiletries, and purses.
However, be mindful of what you give. This charity is focused on providing women with business attire to help them get jobs to feed and shelter themselves or their families. Make sure the clothes are clean and professional. Volunteering at Dress for Success is also a great way to support your community and gain service hours. The volunteer opportunities for high school students include: Styling Studio Volunteer, Portulaca Boutique Volunteer, Donation Sorting, or Hostess and greeter. Similar to Goodwill and Dress for Success, Salvation Army provides clothing and relief to the needy. However, their mission goes above and beyond. They have 8,000 locations in the US with around 3 million volunteers who help over 30 million people worldwide. Their services include rehabilitation, domestic abuse help, after-school programs, elderly assistance, spiritual healing, food pantries, homeless shelters, disaster relief, LGBTQ support, and of course, thrift stores. To help, you can donate any amount of money to the Salvation Army directly on their website or give clothes, food, toiletries, etc. to one of their 13 locations in Cincinnati.
By taking a few hours out of your day to go through and donate your clothes, you are changing someone's life. Your donation can keep those in need stay warm, protected, and hopeful during these cold and difficult months.