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Column: Cleaning Out Your Closet for a Cause

Everyone has to clean out their closet sometime. This season, give someone a new lease on life.

The Serial Shopper is Salute Magazine’s  weekly column authored by Fashion Editor Money Jensen. The Serial Shopper is a weekly look into the mind of our quirky and eclectic Fashion Editor and her thoughts on the state of the fashion industry, fashion influencers, and controversial topics within.

As October comes to an end and the real holiday season starts to kick into gear, everyone starts to get into the Christmas spirit. Getting into the spirit of giving is what the whole season is about.

Many of us are starting to pack away our summer clothes or clearing out our old fall and winter items for new shiny additions. As we make piles and decide what will be donated and what can be sold, let us take time to realize how fortunate we are to have clothing we do not need.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and as the month wears down, many women and children are going into this holiday season with a bleak outlook. Many of these survivors of domestic violence have had to leave their homes and belongings in search of safety.

In these situations, these families are left with little to no time to prepare, no money, no clothing, just what they can carry to start a new life. As we count our blessings for all that we have, let us think about how we can help women and children across the country, and the world, also have a new beginning.

Donating clothing is just a small way we can help these women have a new lease on life. I, like many other people, sometimes forget how lucky I am to have the things that I do. It is a shame, but it happens to us without realizing sometimes.

Each year, as the holidays start, I am sobered by the memory of my mother and sister who both died due to domestic violence in 2004. I have donated my time on many occasions, scheduled, and sometimes the impromptu talk with a woman on the street about how crucial it is to get out of these dangerous situations.

I realized that although many people want to help, not everyone has the time, the money, or knowledge of these situations to do so. But something as simple as donating what you can no longer wear can make a world of difference.

The black trenchcoat and ruffled blouse you now find frumpy may be the critical pieces of an outfit for a woman’s first job interview in years. The clothing your daughter or son can no longer fit can be a new outfit for a child on their first day at a new school. The old band t-shirt you don’t want anymore could be the first clean thing someone has had to wear in days. That feeling we get when we put on the right outfit, and we know we can take on the day is universal. Giving that moment of happy confidence to someone who hasn’t had that in who knows how long, is a reward I personally cherish.

If you aren’t interested in donating just clothing, there are many other items these families need; bedding, homewares, hair care products, feminine hygiene products, diapers, wipes, and even furniture.

As we live in these often scary and dire times, let us remember how fortunate we are and give to those who are in their moment of clarity and rebirth; the dawn of a new, strong, prosperous life.

To donate visit the following organizations or find the local center for nonviolence in your area.

Dress for Success

Domestic Shelters

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

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