Not all clothing charities offer equal services
An open letter to Robert Mitchell, CEO, United Way of Central Alberta:
It was with dismay and disappointment that I read the United Way had decided to suspend (quit) funding the Community Clothing Bank as it provided a duplication of service (Advocate, Aug. 15).
The article stated that other agencies — which I will discuss — provided similar services. Bargain Treasures — donated clothing is available at a reduced cost. But if you can’t afford it, even a reduced rate is too much. Bibles for Missions — again a reduced cost for clothing. Salvation Army Thrift Store — same as above.
As for the Golden Circle Boutique, the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre and the John Howard Clothing Closet, I have lived in Red Deer all my life and was unaware any of them offered clothing services. A few phone calls clarified things. The Golden Circle Boutique is open for a few hours every other Wednesday offering adult clothes. The Pregnancy Care Centre has maternity clothing and baby things (mostly for their clients); the John Howard Clothing Closet has career-related clothing — again for adults. Dress for Success is relatively new to Red Deer and offers women and older girls clothing suitable for interviews and the workplace.
Nowhere in the above agencies is there free clothing for children. This segment of the population needs to be considered. They have no say in the family spending priorities. For reasons such as insufficient wages to support a family, poor choices, poor money management or emergency expenses, there may not be money to buy clothing. Children should be able to dress for our seasons in clothing that fits.
Two other businesses — Plato’s Closet and Once Upon a Child — have children’s clothes, again at a cost. At school, ill-fitting clothing can lead to ridicule. No child deserves that.
The Community Clothing Bank has run for years with volunteers cleaning, sorting, repairing and distributing free clothing for all ages. The other agencies all have at least one paid staff.
For my donation to the United Way, I feel the Community Clothing Bank gives great value. Please reconsider your decision to end their funding.