When our daughter was born, my wife and I inherited a ridiculous amount of baby clothing. Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome, generous of our friends, and it saved us a substantial amount of money. However, as our daughter has grown over the past 11 months, we’ve had to buy more and more clothes. This, coupled with our stash of hand-me-downs has resulted in us having more baby clothes than we would possibly ever need, even if we have more kids. Last week we found ourselves asking the question, “what do we do with all these baby clothes?”
Our first thought was that we would pass on the clothes, as they were passed on to us. However, none of our friends had an immediate need. Then we thought of donation. Immediately we turned to Here We Grow Again in Concord, which we love, but the store doesn’t take donations. This isn’t a knock against Here We Grow Again. We love the store, shop there all the time, and encourage anyone in need of baby clothes or toys to check them out. We considered Goodwill or Salvation Army, but my wife was adamant about wanting to make sure the clothes stayed in the Concord area and helped local families in need. So she took to Facebook, and within a day, we had our answer: OutFITters Thrift Store in downtown Concord.
We had known about OutFITters Thrift Store for a while, and had even gone in on a handful of occasions. However, at that point, I hadn’t really made the connection between the storefront and the organization Families in Transition (FIT). Families in Transition, a nonprofit organization founded in 1991, and located in Manchester, Concord and Dover, is “committed to providing only the most innovative, and effective interventions specifically designed to help homeless individuals and families reach beyond the cycle of homelessness to lead healthy and successful lives.” OutFITters, which has locations in Concord and Manchester, is an arm of Families in Transition that sells gently used furniture, housewares, and clothing. This means that 100% of the profits from OutFITters sales go directly to provide housing and services to the homeless in Manchester and Concord.
Before learning about the connection between OutFITters and Families in transition, I never thought about donating lightly used clothes, furniture or housewares to anywhere other than Goodwill or Salvation Army. I don’t think this was a bad thing, as both organizations do amazing work on behalf of those in need, but those donations, or the profits from their sale, don’t always go straight back into the local community. By donating to OutFITters my wife and I can have a direct and positive impact on the lives of those in my city who need it the most.
*Let me be clear: This is not to say that I only think it’s worth donating goods if they help local community members. Donations, whether they be monetary, food, housewares or clothing, are always worth making, provided the organization that is collecting them put those in need first.
So if you’re out there with extra furniture, lightly used housewares, or a ton of baby clothes and looking to donate any of it, I recommend checking out OutFITters. If that doesn’t work for you because of location, or you want your goods to have a greater impact in your own community, do some research and see what other organizations are out there. Ultimately, just always make sure that you donate goods and clothes rather than throwing them away because there are always people out there who need them, even if you don’t!