In the year 2006, used-clothing purchases kept 2.5 billion pounds of fabrics and textiles out of our landfills. Yet still, the average American is buying twice as many articles of clothing each year than we did two decades ago. Textiles currently account for 5% of all municipal waste, and only 15% of all those home fabrics and clothes that we throw away will ever be recycled. In fact, we’re throwing away a whopping 70 pounds of clothes and textiles per year, each. We can do better, and with so many children in need of clothing, we have to do better.
- We need to be more careful of our environment. There are children in need of clothing across the world, not to mention in need of food and basic medical and educational services, and we are doing needy children more than one disservice when we treat the Earth as if it means nothing what we do with it. When we donate clothes, we give those clothes the possibility of a new life helping others, but we also keep them out of landfills. Because of the nature of landfills, even otherwise biodegradable materials fail to break down correctly. There’s not enough oxygen to facilitate proper biodegrading, and landfill fabrics create greenhouse gases as they go.
- We need to watch out for our veterans and their families. Children in need of clothing are not just on the other side of the world: they’re right here in our part of the world. Some of them are the children of our veterans, many of whom have difficulty supporting their families once they leave the military. Clothes donations are one way of helping military families. Your used clothing donations could go to children in need of clothing, or they could be sold to finance other important needs.
- We need to set a good example for our children and others. Giving is contagious, and study after study shows that we’re more likely to give when we see others doing it. Seventy percent of people who use social media are likely to do something if a friend puts up a story about how they made a charitable donation. This is even truer when the person we see giving is someone we respect. This means we have a tremendous opportunity to influence our children to lifelong habits of generosity, just by seeing us willing to do something about children in need of clothing.
- We need to cultivate the habit of thinking about others. Whether they be children in need of clothing in our nation or abroad, whether the need is for clothing or for a donation of our time, what we get in the habit of doing once we are more likely to do again. We are happiest when we are spending our money and time doing some good outside of ourselves, so helping families in need, in the end, is part of helping ourselves.
There are people in need around you right now. If you look, you can find them. Don’t put things off. See how you can help others, set a good example for your children, and do good for the environment all in one simple donation.