9 Best Places to Donate Clothes for the Homeless
Published May 20, 2022
If you’re thinking to yourself “where can I donate clothes for the homeless?”, then you’re in the right place on the web.
As you probably know, homeless people have so few personal possessions including clothes. So if you want your clothes to go to people that really need them, donating them to the homeless is a great idea.
But with so many places that accept clothing donations, you can’t always ensure that your donations go to the homeless. That’s why in this post we’ll only cover those places that cater directly to homeless people.
Where to Donate Clothes for the Homeless
When donating clothes to the homeless, the best places to start are local homeless charities.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with national charities like Goodwill and Salvation Army. But these places operate by selling donated goods and using the proceeds for their various programs. So your donations are more likely to end up in a thrift shop than in a homeless person’s wardrobe.
With that, here are some of the best places to donate clothes for the homeless:
1. Homeless Shelters
This is one of the most obvious choices if you’re looking to help the homeless in your area.
Aside from temporary accommodations, homeless shelters also provide basic necessities to their guests. This includes food, hygiene items, and clothes. They are usually in need of seasonal clothing items like jackets, socks, and the like. If you have linens and towels, you can throw them in too as shelters often lack those.
Coordinate with the local homeless shelter in your area to see what items they accept. Some places may offer pick-up. But most of the time, you’ll have to bring your donation to their office.
2. Soup Kitchens
Despite their name, soup kitchens don’t just serve soup to the homeless. Many places offer a full meal, not just to the homeless but to anyone in need. But aside from hot meals, many soup kitchens also provide clothing and other basic necessities.
At Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen, for instance, we provide clothing items to our guests. Among them are shorts, pants, socks, and even shoes.
Not all soup kitchens, however, accept clothing donations. So call your local soup kitchen first to verify if they do accept donations and what items they accept. View a list of the types of donation our soup kitchen accepts here.
3. Youth Emergency Shelters
Many young people who run away from home end up in youth emergency shelters. And many of them left home with nothing but the clothes on their back. As such, your clothing donations will surely be appreciated.
Like many places on this list, youth emergency shelters are often in need of seasonal clothes. Some places also accept swimwear and activewear.
Remember, however, that the guests in these places are people in their teens or 20s. So if you think your used clothes aren’t appropriate for that age bracket, better take them elsewhere.
4. Domestic Violence Shelters
As their name suggests, domestic violence shelters provide a safe haven to victims of domestic abuse. Most of the time, they take in entire families with the mother and her children, and pregnant women.
So if you have used baby clothes, pregnancy clothing, and children’s wear, this is a good place to donate them. Make sure to coordinate with them first before hauling out your donations to the front steps.
(Related: 10 Ways to Give Back to the Community Even With No Money)
5. Animal Shelters
Homelessness doesn’t just happen to humans. The world is filled with millions of homeless animals too. Many of them found refuge in animal shelters. If your pet has some clothes, collars, or toys that they’ve outgrown, don’t let them end up in landfills. Donate them to animal shelters instead.
6. Transitional Living Programs
Transitional living programs are designed to help homeless young adults get back on their feet and live healthy lives as productive adults. Most of the people who go through this program either live in host families or group homes. While others are living in supervised apartments rented by the community.
Since most of these young adults have been homeless for some time, they don’t have much in the way of clothes. Also, these people are training for work but most of them don’t have or can’t yet afford work-appropriate clothes.
Giving them your gently-used coats, long-sleeved shirts, and any work-appropriate clothes would be a great start in helping them turn over a new leaf.
7. Emergency Response Programs
Emergency response or disaster relief shelters offer temporary accommodations to victims of disasters and calamities. Obviously, most people who take refuge in these facilities don’t have many personal possessions. In some cases, all they have are the clothes on their back. Donating your clothes is a great way to help them start anew.
8. Places of Worship
Churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, and other places of worship usually hold donation drives for homeless people. If your local place of worship doesn’t have one scheduled, you can ask your worship leader to organize one. Or if you’re not affiliated with any religion, you can ask your friends and family members if their place of worship accepts clothing donations.
9. Dress for Success
One of the factors that prevent homeless people from securing a job is the lack of work-appropriate attire. That’s exactly what Dress for Success hopes to achieve. Its mission is to help homeless and underprivileged women get a job and gain financial independence. To that end, they give them free work clothes as well as professional styling advice.
Dress for Success partners with local charities across the US as well as in 22 other countries. If you want to donate to them, you can visit their website to see if they have any partner charities near you.
Tips When Donating Clothes to Homeless People
Now that you know where to donate clothes to the homeless, here are some tips to keep in mind when making clothing donations.
1. Don’t donate what you won’t wear
A general rule of thumb when donating clothes is to not donate what you won’t wear. Clothes that are heavily stained or have rips and tears should be donated to a material recycling facility, not to the homeless. I mean, they’re already at the lowest point in their lives. Giving them tattered clothes is like rubbing salt on their wounds. Instead of helping, you could end up insulting them.
2. Wash the clothes before donating
I know you want to get rid of your old clothes but you should make sure they’re clean before donating them. Otherwise, these facilities will have to spend their already very limited resources to get those clothes cleaned before they can be distributed to the homeless.
3. Call or visit the charity first
I’ve said this many times before, coordinate with the charity first before hauling your donation on their doorsteps. This will not only help you determine what items to donate but also when to bring your donations in.
Donate To The Poor & Homeless Of South Florida
Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen has fed the poor and homeless in South Florida over 900,000 hot meals since 1993. Our tax deductible non profit organization also accepts and distributes donations such as clothing, toiletries, shoes, bicycles, and more. You can donate to help the poor and homeless through our website.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer and devoted Christian. She has a passion for writing about topics related to morality and helping the poor and homeless. She is the lead author for the Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen blog.
Correct Digital, Inc is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.