Monday, November 2, 2015

Are you ready for the “Donate Your Clothes Challenge?”

You do not have any space left in your wardrobe. In fact, it is bursting with clothes, both old and new. One slip of the hand and you won’t know if it was an avalanche that hit you or if it was just a pile of clothes from the shelf. You have not worn that pair of skinny jeans since college and have been holding on to it in the hope that someday, you will fit into them again. You have not given away any of your child’s clothes, especially those adorable mittens and booties, because there are so many memories attached to them. What about those tight cartoony T-Shirts that you outgrew ten years back? Are you keeping them for your younger sibling hoping that he or she will wear it someday? Let’s not forget those baggy loose clothes that you wore all through pregnancy. Will you wear the same clothes for your next pregnancy? What about that old-forgotten blanket kept in a cardboard box high up somewhere in the attic? Will you take it out this winter? Then there is the bed linen you haven’t used in a while because it no longer matches the room’s color scheme or decor.

 Let’s face it, we are hoarders. We like to hold on to our stuff because letting go is difficult. So, as we tuck ourselves in or our dear ones in warm cosy quilts and duvets, let us take a minute to think of the plight of the homeless or the poor who cannot even afford even a warm cup of coffee. The images of the millions of refugees trudging across Europe, despite the harsh weather conditions, are even more heart-rending. 

If the Ice Bucket Challenge gave you the chills, our Donate Your Clothes Challenge will make you feel warm and nice on the inside. It’s very simple. All you have to do is clean out your closet and give away the clothes that you no longer wear, to the ones who really need them this winter. Once you have done this you can go ahead and tag your friends and family to do the same. This will serve as a gentle nudge to remind them if they have not done so already. You can post pictures of yourself with the clothes you are planning to give away or even write about that special feeling that comes along with giving away something very close to your heart. Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and everything within your reach to spread the word. 

You can reach out to your family or friends and ask around if they know somebody who would benefit from this endeavour. Asking the nanny who takes care of your kids or the domestic help that comes to your house might be a good place to start with. The intrepid ones can talk to community members or leaders and can take the initiative to organize a campaign for donating clothes. You can call up your local charity or an NGO of your choice or even the local/community news channel and enquire if they are interested in collection and donation of old clothes. Only such proactive engagements will yield positive results. 

Winter is very well on its way and we have very less time. Britain could be headed for the coldest winter in more than 50 years if weather forecasts are to be believed. As the temperatures plunge to a frigid low, the death toll this year is expected to rise. In India, winter is the second major reason for deaths after lightening as per the natural disaster statistics. This is tragic news for the elderly, infants and the other vulnerable sections of the society who cannot afford warm quilts, blankets, nutritious-warm food or shelters with central heating. What’s even more tragic are the easily preventable ‘excess winter deaths’ of the homeless-the ones who cannot afford a place to stay. So, for the millions of homeless across the world this winter is going to be about life or death while the rest of the world enjoys the festive season. So as the cold wave sweeps across the land, can we spread the message of hope across to people who are struggling to stay alive this winter? This is your chance to be someone’s hero.