Clothing Drive: A Hand Up
Island Voices, June 2024

Clothing Drive: A Hand Up

By Daniel Hooker

Two Stories.

A young woman, maybe 35 years old, came to the table. “Do you have any formal dress clothes? I just got a job. It starts tomorrow.” She went on to explain that, in Seattle, someone had broken into her car and stolen all her clothes and shoes. She was nine weeks pregnant. “I need this job.”

Many people donate to the clothing drive, but what is not often understood is that the drive is serving not only the homeless, but the working poor.

After packing up the distribution for the day, I went to Brian at Granny’s Attic, and told him this woman’s story. With a gift card and an offer of extra clothing for her, I headed into the aisles. You may not realize it, but I have good taste in clothes. I found her a pair of black maternity pants, two formal suits, and two dresses that she could wear to work or away, and a pair of low-heeled leather boots, barely used.

She was blown away. “Oh, my God!” She was in tears at people’s generosity.


Another story, one involving Ethan, told with his permission:

We had three baby quilts.

“Those are junk,” was the opinion about them. “It’s been weeks and no one’s taken them. You should put them in recycling.”

But I kept them.

One day, Ethan, a young man, comes up. He contributes clothes, and sometimes takes some. Sometimes, he helps set me set up the table. He’s going through the blankets, and then stops, and stares at one.

“Oh, my God!” He takes a photo, and sends it through his phone to his mom. They are both Islanders.

On the phone, his mom starts crying. She had sewn that blanket before he was even born.


At the Clothing Drive, 80% of the clothes, bedding, shoes, and jackets given away are to members of the working poor. Your donations matter. Good-quality professional clothes can make a difference in someone’s ability to show up at an interview or a job. Donations for gas are also very appreciated, and can be given as a gift card from Williams Heating & Fuel.

The Clothing Drive is about helping people at the grassroots level, and giving them not a hand-out, but a hand up.

June 6, 2024

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