Clothing closets operate in most major cities and towns. While the exact types of goods and assistance provided by each center will vary greatly, in general a clothes closet is a low cost or free store where qualified customers can both browse and shop for needed items. Centers will try to provide basic needs free of charge to those who qualify, however some locations may have minimal fees or costs that are due. Examples of what may be distributed include high quality clothing, accessories, shoes, bedding, linens, work attire, and even books. Many locations, which are listed below, often work closely with local thrift stores.
The organizations generally rely heavily on donations and contribution from the community as these are not government run organizations. Many sites also rely on volunteers to help staff the centers. There is usually a range of volunteer opportunities available for groups and individuals in your local Clothes Closet. Also, the vast majority of the programs are supported by the contributions received daily from the local communities.
Only high quality items are offered for resale to the general public. Clothing closets usually serve as a perfect option for low income and struggling individuals and provide consumers with ample opportunities to bargain shop.
They tend to serve as an outreach program and offer household items and clothing to residents of the community. Items will usually be free of charge to those who have an immediate need or who are faced with an emergency. Some of the clients have needs that resulted from the loss of a home from a disaster (such as a fire) or financial challenges from the loss of income, such as unemployment. Some cities also have centers that provide work clothing to people looking for a job or holiday and Christmas assistance. Free clothing closets can also be run by national charity or non-profit organizations such as the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, or St. Vincent de Paul.
As mentioned, donations are needed and can make a big difference in the lives of seniors, children and adults. Your generous contributions of gently used clothes and household goods, provided they are in fairly good condition, can help low income and needy people. This will be the case though you may consider your clothes as being out of fashion or old. Donated goods may come from personal gifts, corporate retail donations, and maybe even government programs.
The charities and centers are always accepting new and gently used clothing. Items are needed for all ages, including infants, babies and seniors. The closets are always in need of other goods and can provide some or all of the following.
What is available to the general public and clients will change, often daily. As everything offered will depend on donations and current demand. Some examples of what can be provided are below.
Coats for Kids is available in many cold weather states, include the northeast and Midwest. Non-profit clothing centers and partner organizations collect goods from the community and provide the warm coats, gloves, hats and other items to children and students. These individuals tend to be most at risk from the cold and need the coats. Many even use them just to stay warm and help them get to school. The locations have pressing needs for donations of men's, children's and women's winter coats in sizes large and small.
While not as common, some clothing centers will also have household goods. This can include small furniture items, household items such as curtains and dishes, small appliances, beds, and cribs for newborns. However those particular items tend to be sold more at thrift stores to the general public and consumers will need to pay a minimal price for them. If you have an emergency or were impacted by a disaster such as a fire, then some people may qualify for free furniture.
The sick, disabled, senior citizens and their caregivers can borrow medical equipment from a loan closet. They are located at both charities as well as churches. There are items passed out, often at no cost, to the low income family. While the client needs to eventually return the equipment, the centers can help fill a certain need. Locate a free medical loan closet.
There are also charities that offer low income families baby stuff. There may be an age cut-off in place, but struggling parents or single mothers may get help with clothing and other needs. There may also be items given for expectant moms. Maternity clothes, diapers, furniture, and more is provided. Find free baby stuff.
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These are two of the nation’s leading non-profit, charity organizations and they offer families an extensive number of services. Among the assistance offered will be low cost or free clothes, and they can be provided for a number of needs.
Beds or cribs for babies and infants can be provided for free by a nationwide charity organization. The non-profits also provide information on other resources, including clothing, maternity items and blankets or education on how to keep children safe and warm. More on free cribs for babies.
There are almost 4000 churches and centers across the nation that are part of the Catholic Charities organization. They will accept donations of personal hygiene items, clothing, and small household items. Items for children, students, and babies is always needed as well. The donated goods will be cleaned, folded, and prepared for distribution. Most communities have Catholic Charity supported clothing closets in their region and the centers will pass out the items to low income families and others who are faced with an emergency. Learn more.
Free or low cost stuff is also available from other organizations, not just clothing closets. There are government agencies that provide items, churches, countless charities, and even stores such as Wal-Mart or Target. Families living in poverty, especially those with children, as well as the elderly can often receive clothing, household supplies, personal hygiene items and more. Read more programs that offer free stuff.
Love in the Name of Christ is another national charity that provides basic needs to families that are facing a crisis. Churches across the nation coordinate their resources as part of Love, Inc. Then, when someone needs help, such as free clothing or school supplies, they contact the clearinghouse in their town for referrals. The ministries may have winter coats, uniforms for students, furniture, Christmas toys, and other items. Read Love Inc.
Salvation Army Family Stores will often have items available as well. The non-profit will have free work and school clothing, winter coats in cold weather states, shoes, baby supplies, and maybe even goods such as diapers. While some of the locations will have on site clothing closets that pass out the goods at no cost to clients, other Salvation Army centers will operate thrift stores for the general public. This will allow people of all income levels and background the ability to shop for and purchase items at a low cost. More programs from Salvation Army.
Thrift stores also save households money. In fact, many people that shop at these locations may be able to buy goods, such as clothes or furniture, at over 80% off normal retail prices. There are thousands of these second hand stores around the country, and they are located in most towns and counties. Most are also run by charities or local churches. In fact, many consignment type shops are located near, or are run in partnership, with clothing closets. Read more savings at thrift stores.
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