CLOTHES donation to the needy, especially after a disaster like the flooding in December which affected thousands in several states, are usually very welcome.
Those that are in good condition and properly sorted into specific piles are snapped up.
However, when the donated clothes are simply dumped into an untidy heap at relief centres and community halls, they lose their appeal.
Sangetha Jayakumar, founder of Lead Up Malaysia, a non-governmental organisation focused on charity and food aid initiatives, said the foreign workers, as well as locals, do appreciate clothes donations.
However, some 40% of the donated clothes are discarded as trash due to damage or being unsuitable for reuse, she said.
“To make the collection process convenient to the needy, the donated clothes must be properly displayed and organised according to apparel type, gender and age category,” Sangetha told StarMetro.
She managed to distribute a total of 10 tonnes of pre-loved clothes around Deepavali in November last year and to the victims of flood at Taman Sri Muda recently.
“We hung the clothes neatly on hangers and the needy took it fast.
“The beneficiaries are also foreign workers who need help as they too are flood victims. Many lost their jobs and the flood made it worse for them. Buying new clothes is the least of their priorities and they are appreciative of these clothes,” she said.
Sangetha, 38, has some advice to those intending to donate clothing.
“Do not donate clothes that are faded, torn, without buttons, without zippers, or undergarments. Always be mindful when donating and do not discard unwanted items that are in poor condition. The rule is don’t give what you would not like to wear,” she said.
Following a successful distribution of two-tonnes of pre-loved clothes for Deepavali in Taman Sentosa, Klang, Sangetha was encouraged by Kota Kemuning assemblyman V. Ganabatirau to carry out a similar project for flood victims, with the latter sponsoring the logistics.
On Jan 2, 8, and 9, Lead Up managed to distribute eight tonnes of pre-loved clothes at the temple compound of Kuil Sri Maha Mariamman in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam. The display was done in a tent managed by 30 volunteers.
“Flood victims and the needy from this community were receptive of these items. They even took school uniforms, blankets, comforters and school shoes,” she said, adding that most of the items were donated by the public.
Sangetha also took clothes that were dumped in other flood relief centres and displayed them properly in a tent where they were snapped up.
She also received help from Kiwanis Club Klang, Lions Group, Gurdwara Shah Alam, Kawan Komuniti and Kuil Sri Maha Mariamman for the project.
“There are some leftover clothes and I plan to send it to flood victims in other states,” she said, adding that her team has stopped collection for pre-loved clothes.