What’s special about this particular clothing drive?
We are a fully volunteer organization with no paid staff. Our overhead costs are supported by our board members and their employers – and not by individual donors. We organize and hold this clothing drive each year to help supply the demand of as many DC metro homeless services organizations as possible. In past years, our clothing drive donations have been delivered to 70+ such organizations. Our goal each year is to meet the specific clothing and other needs (within the categories that we collect and provide) that we learn by surveying dozens of homeless services organizations long before the drive occurs. Our categories of clothing and goods are listed below. Our Board and Leadership Council has a lot of heart and we all do this in our spare time. While you may have read that some categories of homelessness are declining in the DC metro area, the number of formerly homeless now living in permanent supportive housing – through many of the programs that your donations support – is increasing, while at the same time the number of unsheltered residents (such as folks living in tents) has remained flat since last year, and the number of homeless veterans and unaccompanied youth have increased by 11 and 8 percent, respectively. (City Paper, 4/21/2022, citing 2022 Point-in-Time Count for the District of Columbia). GFTH and our supporters help give dignity and take care of others in need.
When is the drive held?
Our drive is normally held once a year. We have no “brick and mortar” location, but you think of us as a “pop-up”! We do not collect used clothing donations year-round, but feel free to set any aside any items for us throughout the year and then donate them when the drive recurs. Alternatively, you could browse our list of homeless service providers that we serve, and find one near you to make your donation after the drive. (Be sure to call first as many restrict donations based on space or types of clothing by gender, adult/children, or season).
What items are accepted?
We focus on warm winter clothing and bedding (blankets, sheets, and sleeping bags), but all items of clothing for men, women and children will be gratefully received – including sweats, sweaters, pants, business casual, night clothing, and accessories. Men’s clothing and plus size clothing of both genders are in particular great need. There is also a need for travel size toiletries of all types. We can find a home for other items as well, including but not limited to: shoes, luggage, (especially roller bags and backpacks), sheets and towels.
Please note that we no longer accept toys, books, household items such as dishes, small appliances, strollers, or seats. We also do not accept underwear, furniture, computer equipment or bulky items. We recommend you check with A Wider Circle or other organizations like Goodwill or the Salvation Army to donate items that are not on our list.
Who can donate to the drive?
Anyone can! Law firms of any size, non-profits, other offices, and individuals. Historically, law firms, corporate law departments, legal vendors and government agencies have partnered with us by holding their own “feeder” drives in November, and delivering the items to us to sort, bag and deliver. We would encourage you to recruit your employer to join us! But, whether you have one bag of donations or a truck full, we are grateful to receive any amount of donations that you can provide. In other words, there is no minimum commitment. If you know of someone who is interested in donating, please feel free to encourage them to do so. We post materials about the drive on our website and you are welcome to share them with others.
How should I prepare my items for the drive?
We have no rules on how to bring your stuff to the drive – feel free to place your donations in any type of bag (plastic, paper, reusable, etc.), box, or inside another item you are donating (e.g., if you are donating luggage) that is available to you to transport the items over to our sorting site. No need to dry clean items before dropping them off at the drive, but items must be generally clean and in good condition (not ripped or soiled).
Where do I drop-off my stuff?
Donated items may be gathered and stored in your office or home until we kick-off the drive on the Friday of the drive weekend. Unfortunately, GFTH has no storage for donated items and we must receive, sort and deliver all of the donated clothing and other items only during the drive weekend. Before each drive, information is provided on our website, gfth.org, Facebook, and Twitter about the weekend drive “pop-up” location. Make sure to check us out and like/follow us so you can be kept in the loop about our activities!
We have a large amount of donations, any ideas on how to transport them?
Here are some suggestions:
- Form a caravan of employee vehicles leaving your office to arrive at our drive location between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on the Friday of the drive weekend.
- Make arrangements with a vendor (office mover, courier, copy service) to donate delivery services.
- Hop in a taxi/rideshare or two.
Be creative! When dropping off your donations, please make sure to check in with a GFTH board member (in a GFTH t-shirt or other identifying means) so that we make sure that your firm/office gets counted and recognized.
We will continue to accept donations from the public at large and from volunteers who will join us to sort and bag clothing on Saturday morning. But, once the sorting is done, we have to close our doors to any additional donations.
Do you provide tax receipts?
Yes! If you donated clothing or other tangible items through a law firm or office that has signed up with us in advance, your donation site coordinator will be able to issue you a receipt, which you will fill out with descriptive information of the items donated. You value those items yourself for tax purpose; GFTH does not assign a value. If you donate in person at our temporary donation site, we will provide you a receipt there.
If you are making a monetary donation, GFTH will issue you a thank you letter/receipt if your gift is $100 or greater, otherwise, your website acknowledgement or your check will serve as your receipt.
Who receives the used clothing donations collected?
We try to serve as many homeless support organizations that serve the homeless as possible. A list of those organizations is posted on our website at www.gfth.org. If you know of a particular organization that is not listed and can use some help, please feel free to contact Joe Edmondson (email@example.com).
Who can volunteer?
While the drive primarily targets the DC metro legal community, anyone from any walk of life is welcome to volunteer. Individuals and groups – both small and large – are welcome to join us. Some firms/offices/ organizations will convene a group of employees, friends and family to volunteer together during the drive.
Kids of all ages are welcome to join us, and little ones love to participate. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and parents of children under 18 years of age will need to complete and submit a parental permission and waiver of liability form before or at the drive. Adults must also sign a waiver. The form will be provided to you upon request by emailing your GFTH contact or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers look forward to the drive each year and become regulars. It’s a great way to spend a winter day indoors, do some good, and meet other people in the DC area who share an interest in helping others in need. This is particularly an easy opportunity for busy people with limited time, but who want to help out with a great cause on a weekend.
How do I volunteer?
Volunteering for the drive is a once a year opportunity. Although we try to organize our volunteers into “shifts,” no minimum amount of time is required and volunteers are welcome to help as long as they like.
We ask that all our volunteers pre-register at our sign-up page. When planning your volunteer experience and signing up, please keep in mind that there are different tasks going on at different times of the drive. Here’s an overview:
- On Friday, there is plenty for a relatively small number of volunteers to do to help us set-up, receive clothing, and possibly some sorting and deliveries during the afternoon hours.
- On Saturday, we do the bulk of the sorting and bagging, and virtually all of the deliveries, so we need a very large number of volunteers, and especially drivers of all kinds of vehicles (cars, trucks, vans, SUVS).
- On Sunday morning, we need a relatively small number of volunteers to help with a few large or small deliveries that couldn’t be made on Saturday, as well as breaking down our sorting site, and whatever else still needs to be done.
Food and drinks are provided to all volunteers!
How do I get to the sorting site?
We hold the drive each year in downtown Washington, DC in an area that is Metro accessible and has parking. Please make sure to check our website in advance of the drive for more information on our location, points of transportation access, and parking availability.
If I cannot make it to the drive, can I still help?
Please spread the word about the drive to your employer, colleagues, friends, family and neighbors through word of mouth, social media and websites, and printing out and posting materials from our website.
Follow us on your personal social media, but please alert your firm PR or web-marketing folks about what you are doing, so they can do the same with your official firm or company accounts! You can also make a monetary donation of any amount through our website – 100% of all donations that we receive are used to purchase and distribute essential new clothing items to DC-area homeless support organizations. Many area organizations solely or predominantly depend on us for their essential clothing needs during the winter months. We get the most bang for your buck by purchasing bulk amounts at low prices from wholesalers.
You can also mail your donations to:
Gifts For The Homeless
1220 L Street NW
Ste 100 – 210
Washington, DC 20005-4018
Please, no UPS or FedEx deliveries to this address.
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