Donate Your Clothes to Thrift Stores to End Homelessness
– Hi everybody, I’m here in Syracuse, New York, upstate New York. And I’ve been spending some time with the Syracuse rescue mission, and this is Christin. – Hi. – Who is the merchandise manager, – Right.
– Of the Thrifty Shop, and the 315, which is
another little store, but,
– Yep. – So one of the cool things over the last couple years,
doing Invisible People, is I’ve been to over 200 cities, several different countries, and I’ve learned so much, but I’ve never learned
about the thrift store model that supports homeless services. And I have to be honest with you, I had the paradigm, because people always do this, they
come up to me and say, Mark, we want to give, but we want to give it directly to the people. And you guys have changed my mind, because they have 18 stores, and all this stuff comes in, and it’s used to feed and house people, – Absolutely.
– And employ people, there’s several people here. So tell me about it. Tell me about your organization, what goes on and even
how you’re recycling it. – Actually, the thrift store industry right now, and what we do and what we try to tell each employee and instill in them when they come here is that what they’re doing is making a difference. The stuff you donate is
gonna generate revenue that’s gonna feed and clothe people. It’s real where our heart
is, every single day. Our stores are 60 percent of
the rescue mission’s budget. It’s a ministry in and of itself. So when you give your clothes
and it’s gonna be sold, that money generated is feeding people. – Right, let me stop you,
– Sure. – Right there, so did you get that? Yeah okay, so homeless
services are being cut, Hodge just I think cut
the entire budget again, and it’s gonna get worse, and you hear words like sequestration, and all this other, less
money going to help people, but have you looked in
your husband’s closet? Those clothes can help people, right? – Yes. Absolutely help people, and not only that, it’s not just helping because of the money, every dollar spent, by our customers is
going back to programs. It’s helping people in your community, give them affordable clothing. Families come to us and mothers say, I have given my children
winter boots and coats for this winter at a fraction
– Right. – Of the price I could pay. I wouldn’t be able to
do this somewhere else. – And you do, you, one of your stores at the mission actually gives clothes. – Absolutely.
– To people in need, so there is that direct support, – Yes.
– But you have this huge warehouse, you have how many stores? – 14 stores. – 14 stores, you have a specialty store at the Syracuse University. – It’s called 315, yep. – So you’re in Binghampton, you’re in Oswego, you’re in Watertown, and then at Wegman’s Stores, which is a grocery store here, there’s donation centers,
– Yes. – And take your clothes,
go to this donation center, put them in. – And not just your clothes. Your shoes, your handbags, you know, ladies, you get tired of your purse, give us your purses, your household goods, lamps, all that kind of stuff, all that generates revenue,
you are helping people everywhere when you give stuff you don’t need or want anymore. – I think this model is great. I mean especially, we’re
living in an economy where, let’s face it,
nonprofits are getting less and less money, but you know, there’s stuff. There’s stuff we can all, I do this. When I, when I’m speaking
and somebody’ll say, how many, how can I
help fight homelessness? And I’ve done this several times, is I ask everybody, how many of you have five
pairs of shoes or more? And they raise their hands. How many of you have five hoodies or more? And a majority of people
raise their hands. Well, I think you can live
with four pairs of shoes, and maybe three hoodies,
– Right. – You know, and donate your good stuff, but even your bad stuff, they want that too, because? – We, nothing goes in a landfill, it’s all recycled one way or another. Everything we can recycle we recycle. And it also generates revenue, and, – Right, it’s green,
– Yep. – It cleans up, it’s social enterprise. Several of the people here, you know, the first employees actually come through the rescue
mission that are hired here. You know, oh my gosh, I love this model. And I know it’s not just the Syracuse Rescue Mission that has this thrifty store model, it’s, you know, I’m sure you know, Salvation Armies and Goodwill and other people, I happen to love this one, not just because I’m here, but because they, you know, have this big huge
infrastructure and network, and you’ve covered all the bases, really. – Yeah, yeah. And I think you mentioned it, but I’ll just reiterate that our warehouse and our stores are also a stepping stone for employment, – Yeah.
– For people, through our programs. We look to them first. – And why I love this, and what you’ve, I will link to my previous interview with Allen, who’s the CEO of the rescue mission, is this rescue mission is getting people out of homeless, into
permanent supportive housing. And that’s just a miracle, and a big change for the
rescue mission model. So thank you very much. – Thank you, Mark.
– Anything you’d like to say, that you’d like to add? – Just thank you for all
of you generous people who donate to the rescue mission, and any homeless shelter, anywhere. We’re all in this to end
hunger and homelessness and I’m very, very grateful. – So, if you’re out there
and you’re anywhere close to upstate New York, grab a bag, go into the closet, fill it up, put it in your trunk, and find a drop-off
location donation center. Some of them are manned,
some of them aren’t, doesn’t matter, find the nearest one, closest to you, and
give to Thrifty Shopper. Because right now, they’re low on donations. They’re low on, always
needing men’s stuff. Woman, go clean out the closet, just do it, just do it, just do it. Grab that guy stuff, bring it here. There’s never enough jeans for men. There’s never.
– Right. – It’s always been an issue. So, and if you’re in
other parts of the country or the world, you know, think about doing the same thing, and supporting the local rescue mission or nonprofit organization
that is using this model to house people and feed people. It’s a good thing, it’s amazing, do it! – It’s the right thing to do.