July 18, 2024
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‘Still Got Tags’ Gemach Is Up and Running

With autumn in full swing and many children in school, parents may be thinking about their wardrobes. That’s where Still Got Tags comes in. A new gemach for brand-new children’s clothing, Still Got Tags, based in Bergen County, is a great option for parents to find or donate children’s clothes.

A few years ago, when Miriam Shteingart of Fair Lawn had her first child, she received a nice supply of clothing as baby gifts. Some gifted articles of clothing, however, were not the right size. Or, by the time her son grew into the clothing, the season had passed. These items gradually made their way to the back of the closet, only to be unearthed when she and her family were getting ready to move into a new house. Clearly, the clothing, in perfect condition with tags still on, needed a new home as well.

Over the years, it had occasionally occurred to her to donate the clothing, but she kept hoping that maybe she would eventually find a use for them, and so never got around to it.

She knew there must be other people in the same boat, so in early 2020 she crowdsourced her friends who also had brand-new clothing and baby toys starting to collect dust. Some had kept items “just in case” they might need them in the future, while others had forgotten they had them. Wanting to make use of these unused items in a “nicer way,” Shteingart gathered them and created an opportunity to share them with those in need.

“It’s a different feeling when you get something brand new with the tag on it,” Shteingart said. “You know it’s really yours, and that you’re the first one to use it. It makes the person feel so nice!”

From there, Still Got Tags was born.

Timing, as they say, is everything and unfortunately, the gemach was started just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Things moved slowly at first, finally picking up over the summer. Now, Still Got Tags is busy and welcoming donations.

Donations can be made by simply dropping off clothing and other items at locations in Bergenfield or Fair Lawn. There is no need to call in advance. Items accepted include clothing, shoes, towels, baby blankets, toys and accessories, appropriate for sizes newborn to 6T.

Shoppers should contact Shteingart in advance and will remain anonymous. She will prepare a box of assorted items per the caller’s request and leave it on her front steps. Shoppers can either browse through the box onsite or pick up the box, sort through what they would like to keep, and return the rest. Though based in Bergen County, the gemach is open to anyone regardless of location.

Shteingart’s chesed mission actively extends beyond the box and into stores when she and her children peruse clothing racks. She believes it is an important chinuch opportunity. “When you go shopping with your children, have it in the back of your head to just buy one extra thing,” she said.

In some cases, a donation will be left outside Shteingart’s home and her daughter, age 5, will notice something that she likes. This sparks a conversation about being fortunate to have certain things, and to consider that this particular item is designated for someone not as lucky as she. Shteingart believes that educating children in this way encourages this mitzvah of chesed and creates a chain of thoughtfulness towards others.

Perhaps you were gifted with a pair of baby shoes that your son didn’t end up wearing. Maybe you bought some bags of new clothing for Rosh Hashanah and later realized that the sweater was a tad too tight. Pick out one extra toy while waiting at the register checkout line. Purchase a dress on sale that may not be your daughter’s style but would fit someone else’s taste. Still got tags? You know where to share!

Donations can be dropped off at 42 Greenbriar Street in Bergenfield or at 13-28 Jerome Place in Fair Lawn. To shop and for more information, contact [email protected] or text (201) 835-7092.

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