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How to Organize a Thanksgiving Clothing Drive

Published by Karon Seekamp

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Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays a year (Easter and Christmas being the other two) where many churches and private organization provide free meals to the needy and homeless. As with meals, clothing is also a necessity for many people during this time of year, especially those who are poor and cannot afford winter clothing to keep warm in if they live in a cold region during this time of the year. Thanksgiving is perhaps the most important day of the year for giving thanks, not just for the things we have, but the things we can offer to those in needs. In other words, I consider myself thankful that I am able to help someone who might need a warm coat, a hot meal, or just some company to keep with. Thanksgiving is the time to share our bounty with those who are less fortunate. Organizing a clothing drive for the Thanksgiving holiday can be easy and affordable. It requires a few simple steps and is inexpensive, depending on how much advertising you want to do for the drive.

The first thing you want to do is ask yourself, which organization shall I do the clothing drive for? If you are a member of a local church that sponsors such programs for the needy, you can contact the church and ask them if they will be needing clothing donations for the local needy. Homeless shelters are always in need of coats and warm clothing during the upcoming winter season. The Salvation Army always seeks donations of clothing, especially during the holiday season. As with your church, you can contact any shelters and the Salvation Army about making a contribution with the aid of volunteers for your drive.

Second, call up your friends and ask if they would be willing to contribute a few hours a week in doing this drive. The drive should take place within three weeks of the Thanksgiving holiday so that you will have time to collect the clothing, organize it, and have it in boxes to ship to the church or shelter of your choice. Starting the drive on the first day of November is ideal. A donation length time of ten days should be enough time to collect donations from individuals in your town or city.

Third, advertise, advertise, advertise! An advertisement of a few lines in your local newspaper about your clothing drive is just one way to promote the drive. You can also make your own ads on a printer using big fonts, clipart, and holiday colors. The most important thing you want to place on the ad, in addition to it being a Thanksgiving holiday clothing drive, is your first name and phone number. That way, potential donors will have a way of contacting you. Be sure to also include on the ad that warm winter clothes are needed for the drive. There are many public places you can post these ads: grocery stores, public libraries, community service building bulletin boards. Before you post up anything, always ask for permission first! Some places do not allow such ads to be placed on bulletin boards by individuals. Once your advertising is up, start planning on receiving lots of phone calls from people who want to donate, and chances are that many people will donate to the drive.

Fourth, be sure to communicate with your donor if the donor wants to drop off the clothing at your home, which he or she can do, or for you or one of your volunteers to pick up the items.

Fifth, have your volunteers help you organize the donations. Buy some of those clean, cardboard boxes from a store like Staples of Office Depot to hold the clothing. Separate the clothing into categories: coats, sweaters, pants, flannel shirts, etc. Mark each box with a black marker the type of clothing it is.

On the last day of the clothing drive, have your volunteers help you transport the boxes of clothing to the organization of your choice. Of course, you will want to properly thank your volunteers with a card, or with lunch. A really great way to thank everyone who contributed to the drive: place an ad in your local paper saying something like: “Thank you to everyone who donated to my Thanksgiving clothing drive.” Include the name of the recipient – the organization who received the clothing – plus your name. The donors, and the organization will truly appreciate your thanks for Thanksgiving!

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