May 25, 2024
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Spotlight on Children’s Clothing Drive

This week in our continuing series about the myriad of chesed organizations in our communities, we highlight the Children’s Clothing Drive which is set to open its doors in just a few days.

How and when did the organization get started?

Eleven years ago a group of women recognized the rapid pace at which our community children outgrew their clothing. The idea was conceived of a community driven initiative, the Children’s Clothing Drive, which repurposed gently used clothing for families in our community. It was also recognized that allowing families in our community to shop for a full wardrobe for their children would alleviate one financial burden that many large Jewish families face. The drive, now in its 11th year, is open to anyone who can benefit from their neighbors’ gently used clothing. This year the drop-off days are July 16-17.

Please describe in detail the services your organization provides.

Children’s Clothing Drive operates annually insideTeaneck’s Keter Torah’s large ballroom every summer during the Three Weeks, a time when the ballroom is not needed for simchas; it is a perfect space for this community initiative. Each year, a donation period is designated during which community members can drop off their gently used clothing. This year the drop-off days are July 16-17.

During the first few days (July 16-18), our volunteers sort the donated clothes by age and gender. Families from the community and beyond come to shop through pre-booked shopping appointments and select clothing for their children. While there is no charge for the clothing, we do suggest for those who are able to donate $10 per bag to help cover operational expenses. After the drive concludes, Yad Leah collects the remaining clothing, which they screen and select for sending to Israel. This process ensures that every donated piece of clothing is put to good use, either within our community or for families in Israel.

Who is eligible for your program?

The services primarily target the Bergen County community, but welcomed as well is everyone across the tri-state area.

Are your services anonymous?

While a comfortable shopping experience is ensured by the number of people shopping by appointment, services are not entirely anonymous. Shoppers sign up through an automatic appointment system. There are always two volunteers on-site during shopping appointments to assist and ensure a smooth operation. On the last day of shopping, July 24, shoppers can arrive at any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. without an appointment.

Please share an anecdote that highlights the work that you do.

A highlight of the work that is done is the feedback received from the community. Stories are related of children excitedly finding “the perfect Shabbat dress” or a coveted brand name sweatshirt that would otherwise be unaffordable. Additionally, the feeling of achdut that emerges is something that is noticed among the volunteers, including members of the community and beyond, young and old, who are all working together for the benefit of the community at large, each person helping in the way that is best suited to them.

What aspects of your work would you like the community to know about that are perhaps not obvious?

We take donations of clothing size newborn through teens that are newer than five years old and in excellent condition, as well as shoes and coats. Anyone who can benefit from shopping at the exchange is encouraged to make an appointment and shop.

What volunteer opportunities, if any, can community members sign up for?

The community-based initiative thrives on the help of over 100 volunteers each year. Volunteers are needed to sort and fold clothes, supervise shopping hours and assist with pack-up.

Opportunities are available for adults, teens, and children ages 8 and up with parental supervision. Specifically needed are volunteers to sort the clothing on July 16, 17 and 18 from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and pack-up help on July 25 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.. Interested parties can email the site for volunteer sign-up links.

Also needed are clothing donations! (Baby through teen clothing, shoes and coats in excellent condition and newer than five years old.)

Is there anything you would like to add that we have not asked?

The Children’s Clothing Drive isn’t just about clothes, it’s about community, creating joyful experiences, and making a difference one piece of clothing at a time. The community’s support and participation are greatly appreciated.


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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