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Donate to GFTHPlease help us continue to clothe the homeless by making an online contribution to our cause.

For USPS deliveries please send checks to:
Gifts for the Homeless, Inc.
Department Number 0046
Washington, DC 20073-0046

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Archived Banding Together Articles
Archived Clothing Drive Articles
December 3rd, 2014 at 7:13 am

This is an article from guest blogger William J. Kuennen, MSW, Program Director, Back on My Feet Washington, DC, a national for-purpose 501(c)3 organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change in their lives that results in employment and independent living.   GFTH has partnered with BOMFDC over the last several years to provide essential new clothing to their runners and they have been a terrific supporter of our annual Used Clothing Drive.

This coming Friday, December 5th, Back on My Feet Staff, volunteers, and members will join Gifts for the Homeless at the annual clothing drive. We are excited to once again volunteer for this awesome cause to aid the hundreds of homeless families in DC. This is my 3rd year volunteering and my favorite aspect of this opportunity is the ability for our program members to give back. You see, the members of our program who will be volunteering are homeless themselves. Despite having very little, our members routinely come out to volunteer at events and have always enjoyed volunteering with Gifts for the Homeless. Many members have expressed how great they feel to be able to give back to the community and how volunteering offers them a better understanding of the commitment and effort our own volunteers provide for them. Our members are working hard in the Back on My Feet program and through the program are beginning to feel more and more self worth. The clothing drive with Gifts for The Homeless allows our members to further add to their personal growth by allowing them a unique experience to join the multitude of other volunteers to give back to those in need. Thank you Gifts for The Homeless for the opportunity to provide our members with an amazing experience to further their growth towards getting back on their feet!

BOMF DC with new GFTH fleece jacket  purchases that were donated during the 2013 GFTH Annual Used Clothing Drive

BOMF DC with new GFTH fleece jacket purchases that were donated during the 2013 GFTH Annual Used Clothing Drive

 

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November 30th, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Gifts for the Homeless is pleased to announce that we donated more than $3,500 worth of brand new socks, blankets, underwear and men’s winter coats for distribution at Homeless Resource Day sponsored by the Montgomery County Maryland Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, November 13, 2014.  “Because we work with wholesalers who give us deep discounts on bulk purchases, GFTH is able to stretch every dollar of every donation we receive,” said Gerri Walsh, GFTH Vice President for new clothing.  “And the terrific network of shelters, soup kitchens and outreach coordinators we serve make sure the warm clothing we purchase gets to those who need it most.”  More information about this wonderful annual event, including goods and services donated by other organizations, may be found here and here.

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November 14th, 2014 at 11:16 pm

We are grateful for the DC area law firms that generously support and participate in our annual used clothing drive each year.  One major way that law firms assist with the drive is by conducting their own local (or “feeder”) clothing drives in their offices prior to the GFTH used clothing drive event — this year, on Friday, December 5th through Sunday, December 7th.  The support enables us to receive nice clothing that will be appreciated and used by less fortunate members of the local community who access services from 65+ area shelters, food providers, and other organizations that receive and distribute our donations.

When you start getting ready for our drive is entirely up to your firm, but you it is best to plan on concluding your drive and delivering your collections to our central sorting site on Friday, December 5th.  There are a variety of creative ways to promote the drive to your employees and staff to maximize donations — the possibilities are endless.  We also encourage firms in shared buildings to ask their fellow firms and commercial neighbors to contribute to their drive.  Not only does that help GFTH and those who we serve, but it also builds positive relationships with others in the local business community.

What Do We Accept?

Above all, our greatest need is for warm winter clothing, but we will accept all types of clothing:  business, casual, coats, sweaters, sweats, long and short-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks, hats and gloves.  But, no underwear or swimwear.

The clothing can be for men, women or children, including infants and toddlers!  It should be gently worn, clean, and free of rips and tears.  Our philosophy is:  if we wouldn’t wear it, we wouldn’t expect a homeless person to wear it either.   Also note that because we have a large NEW clothing program, supported by your monetary donations, we do not encourage individuals to go out and purchase any NEW clothing to donate to this USED clothing drive.  We get much better deals buying in bulk from clothing manufacturers than any individual can buying retail.

We also accept:  sleeping bags and blankets, travel-sized toiletries, sheets and pillowcases, towels, luggage, toys, children’s books, and small household items (like dishes, silverware, pots and pans, placemats, etc. — but no larger appliances like TVs or microwaves or furniture).   No food, please.

What is Presorting and Why is it Helpful?

Please know that one of the many great things about GFTH is that we strive to provide shelters with the very items that they need.  It is for that reason why GFTH Board and Leadership Council Members spend months in advance conducting outreach to homeless services provider organizations to determine who they serve (men, women, and/or children) and what types of items are needed (i.e., a men’s shelter may need men’s sweaters and sweats, but not men’s shoes or women’s clothing) so that they can be put to good use.  For this very reason, we have created a list of categories of items that we collect.

In order to help speed-up deliveries to the homeless services organizations during the course of the GFTH Annual Used Clothing Drive, we appreciate when law firms — particularly large ones that often have large amounts of generous donations — pre-sort by clothing category and bag the items collected in-house before they are dropped-off at the sorting site.  Pre-sorting can be fun — yes that is true!  At the tail end of collections, some firms will hold pre-sorting parties, provide pizza or snacks, and use the opportunity to spread some cheer in the office and spend meaningful non-billable hours with coworkers.

To help with your pre-sorting efforts, we present our 2014 categories below.  If you or your firm would like to participate in this year’s GFTH annual used clothing drive, please contact Joe at JEdmondson@foley.com  Go firms!

2014 clothing drive sorting catagories

 

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November 4th, 2014 at 8:58 pm
Jay is the tall guy with the red hat third from the left in the back row of the GFTH 2013 Board of Directors photo

Jay is the tall guy with the red hat third from the left in the back row of the GFTH 2013 Board of Directors photo

Jay Owen is a longtime member of the GFTH Board of Directors and is currently our Vice President.  He also has been recently recognized for providing generous pro bono legal services for members of the DC-area homeless community.  Here’s what Jay has to say about why he supports GFTH:

“When I think about my first involvement with GFTH, my thoughts inevitably turn to my sister in East Tennessee.  It is an odd thought, but the two are intertwined in my mind because she was injured in a car accident right around the time I first volunteered with GFTH, and the time I took off to be with her caused me to drop several GFTH projects that were, fortunately, picked up by others.  But, even more than being grateful that GFTH gave me a second chance, thinking about that time reminds me why GFTH is so important.  When Caroline was in her accident, we had dozens of people come by and help out in every imaginable way- the support structure was incredible and there is no way my family could have functioned without it.  It reminded me of how fortunate I am to have people like that around me, and how hard it must be for folks who do not have a similar support structure.  Every time I think about GFTH, and especially if I am feeling put upon because I had to spend an hour or two doing something, I try to remember how much I appreciated small gestures in my time of need.  Doing so reminds me that we are all dependent on others in our lives and that I should be grateful for the opportunity to repay a small portion of the kindness and blessings I have received in my life.”

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August 24th, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Brrrrr, the Capital Weather Gang has predicted that the Washington, DC metro area may experience another incredibly cold winter weather season, which means warm winter clothing needs for the area homeless may be on the rise.  Gifts for the Homeless will answer that call with our annual used clothing drive being held from Friday, December 5 through Sunday, December 7, 2014.

We are in need of veteran and new donors and volunteers to join us to help collect, sort and distribute massive amounts of used clothing to the many area shelters that we serve. Our drive will run similar to past drives (last year we collected and distributed nearly 5,000 large bags of used clothing to over 60 area shelters and other homeless service providers), so please check out our FAQs and past drive articles on the “Used Clothing Drive” page on the drop-down menu of our “Clothing Drive” tab on the top of our website for more info.

It’s never too early to get started on preparing for the drive, especially as the weather starts to cool down and we begin to transition to warmer clothing.  Here are some ways that you can help right now:

  • Head over here to sign-up online to volunteer for the 2014 Gifts for the Homeless annual used clothing drive.  We appreciate as much time as you can to volunteer, whether for a few hours, one day or even two or three days.  Volunteer opportunities range from sorting and bagging clothing donations to helping deliver them directly to the organizations that we serve in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
  • Begin to look through your closets and drawers (and anywhere else) to see what you can designate for our donations.  We unfortunately cannot accept used clothing donations prior to the drive weekend, but hope you can tag the clothing or find some space to set it aside until donation time comes around during the first weekend of December.  Examples of items that we accept are on our FAQ page larger sized men’s clothing is always high in demand.
  • Start telling your employers (including law firms and other legally-focused organizations), coworkers, friends, family, neighbors and others who you know about the drive, especially that we are in need of clothing donations and volunteers and how they can get started.

We are excited to hold the drive again this year!  Thanks for your dedication and support!

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