Monday, March 17, 2008

My 34th Year

I've decided to do something special for my 34th year, and, since they say you are more likely to stick to your decisions if you tell someone, I'm telling you. But first a little back-story....

I serve on the Board of Directors for MACC (Manchester Area Conference of Churches) which runs our local soup kitchen, shelter, food pantry and thrift shoppe. At our last Board meeting the Executive Director related an experience with one of their woman clients. This woman has physical and mental health issues and is not able to work. She was shopping in the thrift store one day when she came up to the counter, clutching a package of underwear, crying. Because of her limited income, she has to shop at thrift stores for all of her clothes. She told the cashier that it had been years since she owned any underwear. Since underwear obviously cannot be sold used, thrift stores often don't have a supply in a variety of sizes. People don't think of donating new underwear (or socks or bras) to the thrift shop. Thrift store patrons are often, understandably, too proud to ask. I can't imagine going years without any underwear.

So for my 34th year I am going on a clothing fast. I am not going to buy any new clothes as a way to stand with those who have to choose between food and medicine and housing and clothing. Each month I am going to take the portion of my "allowance" I would have spent on clothes and buy new underwear, socks, and bras for the thrift shoppe.

While I don't consider myself a 'clothes horse' (Gary might point to my two closets and two and a half dressers to disagree) I do enjoy shopping for clothes. I shop for things I need, but also for recreation and sometimes as a pick-me-up. Yet the truth is that I have everything I need... and what I have will certainly last me more than a year. Not everyone can say that.

So wish me luck. I've already had to reluctantly toss more than one catalog in the recycling bin. My hope is that I may come to the end of the year with more understanding and having made a difference, however small, in my community.

And, by the way, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

1 comment:

NE/ME said...

Great idea and I never thought about thrift shops not having underwear...the youth at our church are collecting socks for the homeless (another good idea). Now, will you be accepting gifts of clothing?? Love, Mom