You May Not Need it, But Someone Does

Red cross pickup

Many people talk of the American dream. So many starry-eyed youngsters dream of making it big and rolling in the dough and basking in worldwide fame like their favorite Hollywood starlets, action stars, divas and swoon-worthy celebrities. And look no further than the red carpet to see all the latest trends in high end consumerism. Millions of dollars are spent on articles of clothing that are worn no more than once. This lifestyle may be the desire and the ultimate goal for some, but putting it all in perspective on a grander scale might sicken your stomach, when you think of the multitude of people around the world who struggle to buy an outfit that they will have to wear possibly days on end until it has been completely worn out. Let’s just hope the celebrities are familiar with clothing donation centers.

Putting our extra clothes to good use
Many of us are fortunate enough to have an excess of clothing, even if it isn’t celebrity level excess. But how often do we think about clearing out all those items we never use, to take them to a clothing donation center? The fact is, even if we don’t have the means to help the needy in another country that we hear about in the news, we can still at least do something for those in our backyard. There are needy individuals everywhere, in every community. And at the rate that the average American consumes new clothing, we can afford to help out. In the United States alone, almost 20 billion garments are consumed each and every year. Boiling down the numbers, that is about 68 items of clothing and 7 pairs of shoes per person, which is more than one new piece of clothing bought every week. And the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans dispose of an average of 10 pounds of clothing per person every year. Imagine if even a fraction of that became clothing donations and went to help the needy!

Stepping up to help
Sometimes it’s about helping the homeless or those who struggle to make it from paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes it is about stepping in to lend a hand in a disaster relief situation. The bright side is that 70% of Americans donate to charity in some way every year. People are trying to help. And one easy way to do that is to get involved with the American Red Cross, which provides assistance and disaster relief — be it on the scale of a small house fire to a natural disaster that affects multiple states — continuously, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Responding to over 65,000 disasters every year, the Red Cross helps provide shelter, food, clean water, and yes, clothing. When you donate clothes to Red Cross, your old garments could end up making a huge impact on someone who has lost everything. But it can be any organization. When you donate clothing at any clothing donation center, not only are you getting rid of excess that you are better without, but you are adding to someone else’s life in a powerful way.

We could all probably learn to cut back a little, especially if it means bettering the world for someone else. And if we can do it, the celebrities can too. Who knows, maybe that high-end couture will end up making some of our most down-and-out, oft-forgotten citizens feel like royalty.

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