The start of a new year always offers a great time for a closet purge. Everyone knows you can reduce clutter by removing rarely worn items. But what do you do with those unwanted pieces? It’s easy to drop them off at thrift stores like Goodwill, but only a percentage of that clothing ever makes its way to the retail side of the organization. Sometimes it’s sold to for-profit companies that export clothing around the world. Or, it may end up in a landfill somewhere. Unfortunately, cities like Amarillo have too much unwanted clothing for the big local thrift stores to manage.
When it comes to gently used clothing and other items, local charities and nonprofits offer a bit more bang for your minimizing buck. For instance, organizations like Bethesda Outreach Center and Sharing Hope Ministry accept gently worn, fashionable clothing—like women’s separates or men’s dress shirts and pants—which recipients can borrow for job interviews when they can’t yet afford to build a professional wardrobe.
Meanwhile, Colorful Closets collects and distributes mini-wardrobes for children in need, focusing on desirable brands and stylish, age-appropriate fashion. Decluttering is a good thing. Recycling older possessions is a good thing, especially when they still have some life in them. When you can improve the lives and opportunities of an Amarillo resident with those essentials, it’s even better. Here are a few options for your next decluttering session:
Clothes for Job Seekers
Sometimes, the barrier to getting a job is as simple as clothing: Some job applicants just don’t have the “nicer” wardrobe options that would give them confidence at an interview or new job. Bethesda Outreach and Sharing Hope Ministry accept new or gently used professional clothing for men and women, as does West Texas A&M University. And a student closet at Amarillo College even accepts donations of gently used scrubs or work boots for its students. “Resources such as these provide a sense of relief for students who may not be able to access these materials on their own,” says Jordan Herrera, director of social services at the college.
Donate scrubs at Building A on the West Campus in room 104.
Boot donations can be made inside of the Student Service Center, room 136. 806.371.5107
West Texas A&M University
Contact the Society of Human Resources Management or the Office of Career and Professional Development for more information. 806.651.2345
Bethesda Outreach Center
806.383.6990—by appointment only
Sharing Hope Ministry
806.358.7803—call to schedule donations
Mission Amarillo accepts new or practically new athletic shoes for young students. “These will be the only shoes a student will own, so we try to give them as good a pair of shoes as possible,” founder and Executive Director Jeff Parsons says. For shoes of other styles, or shoes that aren’t quite like new, Parsons recommends donations to Thrift City on 10th Avenue. “The items sold there fund Downtown Women’s Center’s programs and also employ many of their ladies.”
3508 Line Ave., 806.553.0408, missionamarillo.org/shoecloset
812 SW 10th Ave., 806.372.8564, dwcenter.org
Styles and preferences change, so it’s not rare for homeowners to replace furniture that still has a little life left in it. Habitat for Humanity provides good homes for families, and its ReStore helps those families make those houses a home. It accepts furniture, decorative items, household items and more. In fact, recipients of Habitat homes receive a gift certificate to ReStore to purchase items for themselves, and anyone who has been in the program receives an ongoing 20 percent discount. “Items need to be in good condition, and we sanitize all cloth items, including furniture, and also accept appliances, mattresses and building supplies,” says ReStore Manager Kim Webb. “We are the only thrift store in Amarillo that does that.”
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
2626 Paramount Blvd., 806.373.1185, habitat.org
Amarillo Housing First
806.414.2243—call to schedule donations
Buckner Family Pathways
806.373.3422—call to schedule donations
Sharing Hope Ministry
806.358.7803—call to schedule donations
At the Panhandle Adult Rebuilding Center (PARC), those experiencing homelessness can relax in a place where they are known and accepted, part of a process of restoring their self-worth. Productivity during the day—simply accomplishing an art project, for example—plays a big role in this journey. The PARC accepts all kinds of art supplies and offers two classes a day for members. “The supplies help us with the classes we provide. Being productive helps our members to focus and find some quietness and peace. That is hard to do when you are homeless,” explains Executive Director Valerie Gooch. Finishing a painting or small art project builds confidence and helps an individual feel more valuable. “It sounds so simple, but it is so very powerful.”
Donate acrylic paint, brushes and canvases, wood pieces, glue, hot glue gun sticks, stickers, yarn, jewelry-making supplies, and craft items.
413 Sixth Ave., 806.367.8024, theparc.net
The availability of books has an outsized impact on a child’s education, and Storybridge helps provide new and used children’s books across the city. “Our biggest need is books for third to fifth grade—easy chapter books and rich nonfiction are popular in that group,” says Executive Director Chandra Perkins. “But we are truly low in all donated inventory right now, so books for the littles would be great, too!” Jan. 17 is a school holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and from 12-4 p.m., Storybridge is hosting Dream & Donate, a book collection event on the corner of 10th and Fillmore downtown. “People can bring book donations to Storybridge and we’ll have hot dogs and music in our parking lot. We are hoping to get 10,000 books donated that day,” Perkins says.
Find drop-off locations for donations at storybridgeama.org/donate-books
Amarillo Public Library
Donate hardback/paperback books in good condition, including fiction, nonfiction and recent textbooks, complete Encyclopedia sets in good condition, videos on DVD, audio books on CD, and music on CD.
413 SE Fourth Ave., 806.378.3051, amarillolibrary.org/how-do-i/donate
Children & Teen Clothes
The long-running Eveline Rivers Project (now Make a Child Smile) provides coats, hats, gloves and more for up to 3,000 children every winter, based on referrals sent home from school counselors, daycare providers and community service workers like Child Protective Services or CASA. “Our goal is that all children can go to school and have a warm winter coat,” says Melissa Hendricks, an administrative assistant working with the project. Beyond winter clothes, Colorful Closets works with school social workers to provide full, matching wardrobes for students in need. “Tenderly used” clothing or donations from stores like Old Navy or American Eagle are always accepted at several drop-off locations.
Make a Child Smile (Eveline Rivers Project)
806.372.3985—call to schedule donation; evelineriversproject.org
Find a list of drop-off locations at colorfulclosetsama.org.