From Berrak Sarikaya
Clean out your closet and do a good deed at the same time. This weekend Gifts for the Homeless, Inc. (GFTH) holds its annual used clothing drive. Bring your clothes to The Portals III on D Street between 12th and 13th St. SW (map) from Saturday to Sunday. Hours are 8:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Several hundred volunteers will be coming together to sort, categorize, repackage and then deliver the thousands of bags of donated clothing, blankets, and other necessities to dozens of area shelters to distribute to the homeless. For more than 20 years, GFTH’s annual Used Clothing Drive has distributed tens of thousands of bags of used clothing to shelters in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
“The clothing we collect each year is delivered to more than 70 area shelters, from an eight-bed home for men with AIDS to a 1,600 bed facility serving men, women and children,” said Bart Epstein, president of GFTH, which is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization supported by the region’s legal community.
A volunteer with GFTH says, “Anyone with donations literally can drive up on the side of the building (near the Mandarin Oriental hotel) and volunteers will collect the donations curbside, so there’s no need to find a parking spot and that makes it extra easy and quick to donate. Donations also can of course be brought in by hand.”
“Every year, we meet the needs of more and more homeless people and families by delivering warm clothing to increasing numbers of shelters and soup kitchens. We intend to serve every facility in the region that helps the homeless — from emergency shelters to transitional shelters to shelters for battered women and children to soup kitchens. Any shelter or soup kitchen in the area with needs should let us know so that we can do our best to meet their needs.”
GFTH was created in 1986 by lawyers in the district as part of an effort to give back to the city during the holiday season. Over the years, GFTH has grown into a year-round operation that collects used clothing and monetary donations (used to purchase new clothing such as socks, sweatshirts, long underwear, blankets, hats and gloves.