[Updated August 17, 2013]
Like you, we go through our closets every year or so to collect clothes we no longer wear, and we donate them to our local Goodwill store. Unfortunately, Goodwill does not give away the clothes. It charges money for them, not much, just a few dollars per item, but it is still a barrier.
When we lived in upstate New York, we gave our used clothes to Asbury Methodist Church, who distributed them to those in need, free of charge. I prefer this model: I wouldn’t want a few dollars to stand in the way between cold and warm.
So I decided to google places in Asheville that provide free clothing to anyone who needs it. Here is a sampling of what I found. The text under each heading is verbatim.
Our Shepherd’s Chapel
Services: A warm winter coat will be provided for any child 14 years or under. A parent/guardian must make initial contact (via phone) and child must be present (at distribution location) to purchase coat with parent/guardian, with Pastor (or church representative).
Eligibility: Coats: Child age 14 and under; Income restrictions to be determined at phone call; Picture ID and Social Security Card required.
Clothing Closet, Salvation Army – Buncombe County
Services: Provides emergency food and clothing assistance to those in need once every three months or as needed. Non-perishable items are available with formal interview and screening. Every client must have ID, and current piece of mail to prove Buncombe County residency.
Eligibility: Food pantry and clothing closet: picture ID, and current piece of mail to prove Buncombe County residency. School clothing assistance: picture ID, social security number of child, and current piece of mail to prove Buncombe County residency; child needs to be present when applying for school clothing.
Clothing Closet, Foster Seventh Day Adventist Church Community Services
Eligibility: For Pantry/Clothing Closet: Buncombe County residents; Demonstrated need; May come once a month; Low or no income; Picture ID, income verification, and Social Security Numbers for household members.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include this last one, and as you know I’m not a Catholic.
Catholic Social Services – Buncombe County
Services: Anyone in need welcome regardless of faith or ethnicity.
Eligibility: No restrictions. No documentation required. Call ahead for availability of financial assistance.
Documents To Bring: Walk-in only. Application required prior to receiving assistance. Clothing is provided for the first 20 applications.
Is it really possible that deadbeats are taking advantage of clothing giveaways to the extent that such restrictions are needed? Aren’t there enough clothes to go around for anyone who needs them, even considering the few people who might not need them? Maybe not. Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I should visit Catholic Social Services tomorrow.
Update: Catholic Social Services is now called Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte. Their Asheville “Clothing Closet” is open one day a week, Wednesday afternoon, for three hours. My search continues.