Where to donate clothes to do the most good?
November 11, 2011 9:38 PM   Subscribe

I recently lost a bunch of weight, and I have a lot of clothes that don't fit, some of which are pretty nice. What is the best place to donate them? I know Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc., will take them, but does anyone have a sense of which national organization or local outfit in Sacramento, CA, would be best?

Any place I donate should be accredited by the IRS so that I get a receipt, so I'm hesitant to use something like Freecycle. Other than that, you can define "best" any way you want. Who makes the most from the donations they get?

Oh, and a caveat to the previous paragraph is that if there are any places that really get the most out of them but CAN'T provide a donation receipt, they would still be in the running -- convince me!
posted by peripatetic007 to Society & Culture (17 answers total)
I think Goodwill is fine. You can get a receipt.

I wish really tall people would somehow get shorter and have to donate their tall clothes. Would make my life a lot easier. Hell I can't even find my sizes in the big and tall store for full price.
posted by sanka at 9:46 PM on November 11, 2011

Response by poster: @sanka -- I have big and/or tall friends that use eBay _very_ successfully. The sharpest-dressed guy at work is 6'5", and he buys ALL of his suits inexpensively on eBay.
posted by peripatetic007 at 9:51 PM on November 11, 2011

I'm on my phone and can't search right now, but there are organizations that collect profesional clothes for women who have been in shelters or are otherwise in need of help looking appropriate for job hunting. I always hear that they never have enough clothes in larger sizes. Could you find something like that for any work suitable clothes and give the rest to your choice of charity? FYI I give mine to Goodwill because my easy neighborhood alternatives are Out of The Closet, who give money to AHF, an AIDS org I have massive issues with, and the Salvation Army, who are horribly homophobic.
posted by crabintheocean at 10:00 PM on November 11, 2011 [6 favorites]

Looks like Career Closet is not far from you. I don't know that particular program but I know of similar ones in other cities that do good work.
posted by nat at 10:02 PM on November 11, 2011

Dress for Success accepts clothes for women trying to get into the workplace. From their website (dressforsuccess.org):

The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

There might be an equivalent for men as well.
posted by lulu68 at 10:03 PM on November 11, 2011

Please donate them to WEAVE's thrift store.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:04 PM on November 11, 2011

I came to suggest Dress for Success as well.
posted by anastasiav at 10:25 PM on November 11, 2011

WEAVE is great. There is also the SPCA Thrift Store at 1517 E Street. They will provide a receipt.
posted by easilyamused at 11:47 PM on November 11, 2011

Sadly, according to their website Dress for Success cannot accept donations in Sacramento...
posted by likeso at 3:44 AM on November 12, 2011

Response by poster: Well, all of my clothes are men's clothes -- I should have said that up front. So Dress for Success and Career Closet probably wouldn't want them anyway. =)

Hmm. It looks like WEAVE is also more suitable for donations of women's clothes -- and, FYI, they have a "Suited for Success" program that looks pretty much exactly like what Dress for Success/Career Closet does, so if you are looking for something like that in Sacramento, here you go:


The SPCA Thrift Store is an intriguing idea as well -- definitely right in my wheelhouse in terms of causes I support (and I'm also vegan!).

Thanks so much for the suggestions!
posted by peripatetic007 at 7:34 AM on November 12, 2011

Local Freecycle?
posted by Fferret at 7:52 AM on November 12, 2011

Response by poster: @Fferret -- from original post: "Any place I donate should be accredited by the IRS so that I get a receipt, so I'm hesitant to use something like Freecycle."

Also, to be honest, I'm hesitant to give away a huge amount of clothes on Freecycle because someone might pick them up and then turn around and try to sell them somewhere (eBay, thrift store, etc.). That might do _that_ person some good, it's true, but that's not really what I'm going for. =)
posted by peripatetic007 at 7:58 AM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Goodwill does different things in different locations. In Birmingham, they had a display area that looked like it was an acre or so, and they sold the donated clothes. Down here, they shred them and bale them and sell them for recycling. You still get a receipt, but...
posted by halfbuckaroo at 8:03 AM on November 12, 2011

I wonder if Loaves and Fishes downtown could use them, or might be able to refer you to another organization who could. I'm sure there are orgs who need nice clothes for their clients.

I'm more familiar with the Central Valley Goodwill system (a family member is a higher-up in their organization) than the Sacramento area one, but I think as long as you donate to a store and not their big by the pound facility in south Sac then your clothes are likely to be sold not shredded.

I always liked donating to Deseret Industries, since I know any unsold clothes are sent to people overseas. They are Mormon-run, which some people have qualms about.
posted by apricot at 8:18 AM on November 12, 2011

I strongly suggest giving them to the Union Gospel Mission (or any other place that helps the homeless directly). Any charity that has a store has to deal with overhead, salaries, etc. Goodwill is notorious, at least in the Pacific Northwest, for paying very large salaries to their managers (and minimum wage to their workers). When you give to homeless shelters or missions or women's shelters, the clothes go directly to people who will use them. And deeply appreciate them.
posted by kestralwing at 9:04 AM on November 12, 2011

I don't know whether you were significantly overweight before you lost a lot of weight, but shelters and agencies that help the homeless (or those in danger of becoming homeless) really struggle to find "plus sized" clothing for both men and women. The majority of donations are usual in the sizes that are readily available in most department stores or shops at the mall - anyone larger is often out of luck. If nothing else, they'd probably be most grateful for outerwear.
posted by VioletU at 10:10 AM on November 12, 2011

There are consignment shops around here. I sold a bunch of my clothes and got $150. Yes, if I'd ebayed them, I probably could have gotten $350, but still... $150!
posted by small_ruminant at 11:32 AM on November 12, 2011

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