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The Cycle of Clothing Donations | Hearts for the Homeless

Hearts Clothing Donation Cycle

The Cycle of Your Clothing Donations - What Happens When You Donate to Hearts?

Hearts for the Homeless® depends on the generosity of donors who donate clothing, accessories, shoes, and household items. Your donations help us change the lives of those less fortunate. We recognize that donors have a choice of where they take their donations and hope this article gives an understanding of what happens to donations given to Hearts.

1. Donate

It all starts with your donations! We’ve placed several easily accessible bins across Western & Central New York  to make donating your items as easy as possible! By using our bin finder, you can find your nearest donation location. Simply drop off your items within the bin and we will do the rest!

2. Items Collected & Sorted

Donated items are collected from our donation bins or are brought to our facility. Our donation bins are equipped with smart technology which helps us utilize your donations to the fullest extent possible. Donations are sorted, separated and sent to a destination for repurposing —for the homeless and those in need, thrift shop, or recycled.

3. Directly To Those In Need

Your donations are used to clothe the poor and homeless at no cost to them. We receive calls daily from people in need of whom we invite to come to the thrift store and shop for free. Clothing, shoes, and blankets that are suitable for the homeless are organized and prepared for distribution; the homeless have daily opportunities to receive clothing and necessary supplies through our Mobile Crew teams at the Downtown Library during our meal distribution.

4. Thrift Store Inventory

Hearts Thrift Shop uses these donations to stock our store with the goal to provide quality clothing, accessories, shoes, and household items at affordable prices. Hearts meets the needs in an impoverished area of our city where people do not have transportation to suburban stores. The profits from these sales help cover the cost of operating Hearts’ outreach programs; some of these costs include purchasing food to feed the homeless and poor, and maintaining and expanding our ministry.

5. Recycled

Lastly, some of the donated items are recycled. Clothing, shoes, blankets and household items that don’t sell in the thrift shop or are unsuitable for the homeless are donated to other charities, sold to other second hand retailers and/or processors, or wholesaled to recyclers for reuse. This last option is called Textile Recycling. All proceeds received by Hearts goes directly to supporting the various outreach programs operated or supported by Hearts for the Homeless.

Clothing/Fabric Items That Can Be Recycled: 

  • Shirts 
  • Pants
  • Socks
  • Underwear 
  • Towels
  • Rags
  • Sheets
  • Bedding
  • Basically any clothing or fabrics in your home can be recycled! Don’t throw them away!

What is Textile Recycling?

Textile recycling is the process of recovering fiber, yarn, or fabric and reprocessing the textile material into useful products; this often is a by-product after wearable clothing has been reused around the globe. Textile waste products are gathered from different sources and are then sorted and processed depending on their condition, composition, and resale value. 

The average US Citizen throws away 81 pounds of clothing and household textiles every year! When Americans recycle their unwanted clothing and textiles, it provides three main benefits: funds charitable programs, reduces solid waste, and provides economic stimulus and employment. Almost 100% of household textiles and clothing can be recycled, regardless of the quality of its condition. Without recycling availability, 100% goes to landfills. Even if you donate clothing that isn’t suitable to be sold in our thrift stores, we will recycle it! Clothing recycling doesn’t just help our planet, it also directly helps your neighbors in need! 

When you donate clothing, accessories, or any household fabric like linens to Hearts, you are:

  • Providing clothing and other supplies for the poor & homeless in need, at no cost to them.
  • Supplying merchandise for our thrift shop.
  • Providing an important resource that contributes to our budget which helps keep our programs operating through the profits from thrift store sales and proceeds from textile recyclers.
  • Helping the environment by recycling unusable clothing and textiles.
    • 45% are reused as apparel through our thrift shop or purchased by other second hand retailers and/or processors around the globe.
    • 30% are recycled and converted into wiping rags or used as towels in industrial settings.
    • 20% are recycled into fiber and used for carpet padding, home insulation, and vehicle interior, when combined with other raw materials.

Processing donated goods has become our most cost-effective fundraiser. Even your stained, torn, unwearable clothing and textiles can be donated for reuse or down-cycled into products like rags; eyeglasses can be reused; and shoes – rubber soles can be shredded into crumb rubber for use in asphalt. Rather than putting them in the trash, as long as they are clean, dry, and odorless, put them in a Hearts donation bin, you can even mark the outside of the bag, “recycle.”

Your donations count and they empower us to carry out our mission.

Hearts’ #1 goal is to clothe, feed, and help the poor, homeless and underserved populations. We have been doing this consistently since 1990. These populations are the main beneficiaries of the donations that come through Hearts, whether they are receiving the clothing directly, or receiving assistance from one of our outreach programs.

On behalf of the individuals and families we serve, those who are often most in need, Hearts offers our thanks to our donors for choosing Hearts for your donations and helping us improve the lives of those we serve.

Proverbs 11:25

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. 

Proverbs 19:17 

One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.