POSTED ON JULY 29, 2009:
Wanted: Plaid Jumpers
Children's boutique wants parents to donate old school uniforms for students in need
All Tucked In. Meeting dress code stipulations likely puts children at ease in the classroom and allows them to learn and flourish.
Clothing donation is probably the easiest, most accessible way to give back to the community. There are many popular excuses used for avoiding philanthropy--not enough time, not enough money--yet these don't really apply to donating clothes.
You can spend as much or as little time as you want pulling items from your closets and dresser drawers. If you know your closets well, it should take no effort at all; if it doesn't fit or you haven't worn it in months, drop it in the donation pile.
Dropping the clothing off is easy, and some organizations will even pick up items. Certainly money's no excuse when you've already spent the money on the items.
Many local organizations accept any type of clothing. There are many ongoing clothing drives in Tulsa, including two organizations in particular that are leading drives in search for school clothing for children and professional outfits for women. The time has come to throw open your closet doors and give away unwanted or unworn items.
The clothing drive at Gaga-a-Gogo shows you how simple it is to contribute to the community and how anyone can start his or her own charitable organization. One children's clothing boutique customer started a local organization, and because Gaga-a-Gogo's new Cherry Street location (1631 E. 15th St.) had an available upstairs space, the store decided to assist in collecting clothing for Riley's Closet.
Riley's Closet is a non-profit organization started this year by 12-year-old Riley Valdez. She realized that her old [school] uniforms were going to waste after she outgrew them and wanted to make a difference for those in need. Together, Riley's Closet and Gaga-a-Gogo are collecting and providing Tulsa Public School uniforms to members of the community who may need some extra assistance this school year.
The donation portion of this event has already started and continues through August 1 and again August 6 and 7. On these days, from 10am to 5pm, participants can drop off old Tulsa Public School uniforms; in addition, cash and check donations can be made.
Those donating their gently used pieces likely know the uniform regulations by heart. For those uncertain of what to donate, the standard Tulsa Public School uniform pieces include polo style shirts in red, white, or blue without emblems (the embroidered signature icon typically found on the left chest of the polo; for example, the Ralph Lauren's polo player). White oxford shirts are also part of the uniform and accepted donations, as well as navy blue or khaki shorts, pants and skirts.
In addition to the uniform pieces, Gaga-a-Gogo is also collecting backpacks, school supplies and any other clothing donations. Keep in mind that the clothing should not have rips, tears or stains.
More than just providing the drop off point for donations, Gaga-a-Gogo also allows school children to pick up any of the donated items. Saturday, August 8 at 10am, anyone who may need assistance can drop by to pick-up uniform pieces. Both the kiddo and a school ID must be present on this day.
To find out more information about this event, other upcoming events at Gaga-a-Gogo or see what clothing they have for babies and children (infant to size 14), visit gaga-a-gogo.com or their Facebook or Twitter page.
Dress to Impress
Meeting dress code stipulations likely puts children at ease in the classroom and allows them to learn and flourish. Similarly, adults need professional looks and pieces that give a good first impression when applying for work. Especially in today's job market, getting the right look might give you that extra little edge on the competition.
The national organization Dress for Success, founded in New York City in 1997, is based on the theory that confidences helps advance a career. It has been providing professional clothing for women in Tulsa since 2001.
The Dress for Success mission is "to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional business attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help thrive in work and in life... Each Dress for Success client receives one suit for her initial job interview and is eligible for additional clothing when she secures employment."
Globally, Dress for Success has served almost 450,000 women. The organization receives recommended candidates for the program from a variety of partnered agencies, including homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and government agencies. More than just providing women with a professional wardrobe, they give women the courage and confidence to thrive in the workplace.
Praises for Dress for Success Tulsa are abundant on their Facebook page, showing that the simple act of donating a new outfit greatly affects not only women's lives but the well-being of their families.
The organization accepts all clothing and accessories key to presenting a responsible career woman. Accepted items include pant and skirt suits, professional blouses and tops, dress shoes, unopened hosiery (pantyhose and knee-highs), professional accessories including jewelry, scarves, belts and handbags, and unopened cosmetics.
Similar to the Gaga-a-Gogo drive, all donations must be new or gently used, and these items must be on hangers and in season due to space limitation. The organization's immediate needs are "spring and summer business suits, plus size clothing, shoes (sizes seven to 12)" and the professional accessories mentioned above. Of course, cash and check donations are also accepted.
To schedule a drop-off to Dress for Success Tulsa, call 599-8892. Donations are also accepted at two Talbots locations in Tulsa: Utica Square (1930 Utica Square) and Woodland Hills Mall. Don't fret if you're uncertain if the clothing meets the criteria as donations that cannot be utilized will be given to other charities or organizations in need.
To find out more information about Dress for Success Tulsa, visit their Facebook page. To find out more information about the national organization, visit www.dressforsuccess.org. There, you can also learn how to host a suit drive through your company, church or other organization.
Odds and Ends
The donations certainly don't have to stop here. Trippets, 2635 S. Harvard Ave., collects gently-used shoes. Drop yours off in the bin inside the store.
And, of course, there are collection spots all throughout Tulsa that accept nearly all clothing, not just specific items. Tax deductions are available if you can't manage to donate out of the kindness of your heart.
Remember that in this economy, every little bit helps someone, somewhere. While you may not have the time or the funds to save the planet, you might have some extra clothes to help a child dress for school or to make a woman feel empowered, giving her the right wardrobe to land a job.
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