High school clothing swap

One of Abby’s dear friends was visiting last week and asked if she could send me a press release to run in the paper. She was organizing a clothing swap, she said, and she wanted community members to know that they could drop off lightly used winter items to the high school.

As she talked, the more I liked the sound of this project: We’ve had a terrible, hard, cold, long, stupid winter, and there are a lot of students at the school in need of adequate clothing. And while there have been coats, hats and gloves donated to the school — and it’s been advertised that students can go in and get whatever they need for free — the kids aren’t utilizing the service. Abby’s friend speculated it was because they were embarrassed.

I’ve given up hope of ever thawing out.

Her solution: Make it into a clothing swap. She’s getting students to bring in items (winter or otherwise), and is hoping the larger community will donate as well. Starting Monday, students can go into the gym during their lunch break for the next two weeks to choose from the available items — all for free. Anything left over will be donated to the local warming shelter.

You guys, never underestimate the power of teenage ingenuity. This project just rocks my world on so many levels: First of all, it’s such a kind way to get items to kids who need them; second, it’s zero waste and minimalist.

I love that she’s made this into a fun event, where choosing a used item is “cool.” I also love that she’s figured out a way to get items no longer in use back into circulation. And I love that all students can participate — and hope that those who need a coat will now feel comfortable choosing one.

What an amazing idea. I’ll try to remember to get an update from her after the swap ends to see how it went. But I wanted to share now because winter is long, and I can just see this idea catching on in other schools or communities.

This same friend of Abby’s took over a prom dress sale last year from a local service group for her junior project. Students and community members donated dresses — mostly formal, but there were some everyday dresses there too — along with shoes and jewelry. Dresses went for a flat rate of $10 each; shoes and jewelry were $10 or under. All proceeds went to the women’s shelter. It had previously been open only to high school students, but Abby’s friend advertised it to the community as a whole, and she ended up with a very successful event and a nice check for the shelter. I’m not sure what happened to the dresses left over. I have a feeling they were saved for this year’s sale, to be organized as another junior project.

Again, what a wonderful idea — recycling formal dresses, giving girls a fun event that makes secondhand shopping acceptable, and helping a cause all in one fell swoop.

Anyone else have stories of events like this?

Next up: I’ve got a few project updates to celebrate Month 10.

4 Responses to High school clothing swap

Tell me, tell me...