Story and photo by Sherri Odell
The Red Cross is unable to accept clothing because we don’t have the resources to collect, sort, clean, store and distribute clothing – and often, clothing taken to sites like shelters piles up.
Instead, the Red Cross works with community partner agencies that already specialize in handling clothing and household goods. We refer clothing donations to those agencies, and likewise our caseworkers connect people in need to those agencies to receive clothing for free.
Sometimes, we also find a convenient solution by having those partners co-locate at service delivery sites. At the Disaster Assistance Center in Longmont, Colorado FriendShip, a volunteer organization that provides emergency clothing, had set up to assist those affected by disasters. Their desk was a few short steps away from the Red Cross - which makes it easy for those bringing the clothing.
“We realize that the Red Cross is not set up to handle clothing donations. This is something that we can do to help assist the Red Cross,” said Liz Friedenson, executive director of Colorado FriendShip.
During the recent flooding in Longmont, her organization has been serving an average of 100 families per day, who are welcome to take everything from infant clothing to maternity clothing, in just about every size imaginable.