Lakewood’s H2O is soliciting donations for its July 23 clothing drive and super sale

LAKEWOOD, Ohio – For decades, families on tight budgets, stressed by back-to-school shopping, have eagerly awaited the annual Help to Others (H2O) clothing drive and super-sale, which this year takes place 9 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on July 23 at Garfield Middle School.

However, before people can take advantage of super deals – literally each item is only 50 cents – the community group needs donations, which it is now accepting until July 17.

“We collect all kinds of clothing — shirts, pants, shorts, shoes, winter clothes, outerwear, coats, boots, hats — for all ages,” H2O coordinator Emmie Hutchison said.

“The collection points are one of three fire stations in Lakewood. There are recycling bins that are labeled for our clothing collection. Residents can drop off donations at any time.

The H2O Youth Volunteer Program, which is operated by the Town of Lakewood/Department of Human Services Division of Youth, provides Lakewood youth with meaningful opportunities to serve and make a difference in their community.

Hutchison said the community-wide clothing drive also involves H2O Summer Service campers, who often sort 25 to 30 garbage bags a day of donated clothing. Children evaluate the quality of clothes, assign a price and classify them in rooms and tables by type of article: women, men, children, etc.

“Our summer service campers and some high school volunteers are working to sort and organize the clothes so that hopefully on sale day they are nice and organized for people to go through the different selections,” said Hutchison.

“This collection is currently essential because we are going to have campers in there. We need a lot of things to do for them.

H2O also collects school supplies from donation bins. New or gently used school and art supplies will be distributed to students, families, and teachers next fall through “Supplies for Success,” which is a committee of The Lakewood Family Collaborative.

“If things are donated as new or can be refurbished as new, they will go directly to a student,” Hutchison said. “If lightly used, they will go to teachers for an extra stock of supplies.”

Not only is the clothing drive and super sale an H20 fundraiser, but it’s also an important lesson for student volunteers.

“It’s such a rich learning opportunity for our kids,” Hutchison said. “We talk to them about what minimum wage is and how much an outfit costs in the store. It really gets them thinking about the cost of the clothes. There’s a bit of the impact of fast fashion when we’re expected to buy a lot of clothes and what impact that has on environmental sustainability.

“We’re introducing the idea that buying used gives us options for creativity. Maybe you want to buy something and change it up a bit or experiment with your look. It’s a lot more fun if you buy the opportunity to brighten up your wardrobe.

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