Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kids Grow Like Weeds!

I'm just returning home from working at our church's semi-annual Kids Clothing Exchange. This is one of those events that can make you feel good about people and the Earth all at once. My friend Sarah came up with the idea a few years ago and it's been a huge success. Most parents have a few bags or boxes of clothes laying around since kids seem to grow like weeds. At the exchange, all those outgrown clothes find a new home and parents are saved the expense of repurchasing an entire wardrobe every 6 months when their child jumps another size.

Twice a year Sarah asks the community for clothing donations and for several people to spend a few hours sorting, setting up, working, and closing down the two-day event. The exchange is timed to coincide with the local food bank which operates out of our church, but it is open to anyone. There are no limits, no qualifications, no paperwork - everything is free. We encourage, but don't require, our shoppers to donate their own outgrown clothes. They arrive with a pile of 9-12 month baby outfits and leave with a bag full of 2T pants and shirts. There are also books, toys, maternity clothes, and some baby items. It's great to see a child curled up on the steps reading a book and eating a cookie while his mom shops and sips a warm cup of coffee. Even better, he gets to take the book with him when he leaves!
At the end of the day, we pack up the leftover items (not many this time - definitely a sign of the times) and donate them to a local charity that provides clothes to schoolchildren.

The clothing industry has such a dramatic effect on our Earth so it's great to see clothes get another use - in this case, right in our own local community. In my house, the clothes pass from my oldest to my youngest and then on down to friends with younger boys. Of course, as my boys get older, those jeans are starting to get more holes in the knees and getting harder to reuse! I'm sure that's how cutoff jeans came into style long ago...

I've been known to shop at the local used kids' clothes store and even picked up a few pairs of size 8 pants (without holes in the knees) today at the exchange. What about you? Do your kids' clothes get passed on? How do you (or they) feel about wearing hand-me-downs? For my boys, it really comes down to the style of the item - if they like it, they don't really care where it came from.

No comments:

Post a Comment