- Conceptualized and Produced
- Venue: XFINITY Live!
- Years: 2014 – 2017
- Amount: Over 35,000 lbs of clothes and $10,000 raised
- Fun Fact: ADVENT owner Joe DeCandido picked up all donations from 2014’s dropoff locations, meaning there were over 5,000 lbs of clothes in his car throughout the month of November!
A massive community clothing drive that has collected more than 35,000 pounds of garments in three years, has restarted its collection efforts for the 2017 holiday season.
The campaign exploded over the next three years, growing to more than 30 collection locations, picking up business sponsors and requiring a network of volunteers to coordinate clothing bin pick-ups.
The Thanks4Giving Clothing Drive has a two-fold impact. It provides second-hand clothing to thrift agencies re-selling that clothing at a steep discount. Then, each pound of clothing donated earns North Light Community Center a monetary donation from the thrift store to support its programs.
ADVENT founder Joe DeCandido organized the first event in 2014, encouraging his staff to clean out their closets for a great big donation to North Light Community Center. Since establishing Thanks4Giving three years ago, he has become a member of its board and several committees.
North Light Community Center has served the Roxborough and Manayunk area for more than 80 years, offering scholarships to local students, tutoring and summer camps. It also provides adult classes, and a venue for local sports. Most importantly, North Light Community Center provides emergency assistance to struggling neighbors through its Community Food Cupboard.
When community center officials said clothing would overwhelm the emergency assistance program volunteers distributing food, ADVENT’s founder deployed his resourcefulness, finding a way to support the community center while clothing his needy neighbors.
ADVENT worked on a pilot program with IMPACT Thrift Stores, in which non-profit programs like North Light collect garments by hosting a clothing drive. The items are donated to IMPACT stores. In turn, IMPACT paid a small amount per pound back to the non-profit. Anything IMPACT would not be able to sell at its’ stores, it would send to third-world countries.
The first year of the partnership, ADVENT recruited the Manayunk Development Corporation, Roxborough Development Corporation and Bourbon Blue, a Manayunk restaurant staple, to help spread the word and become drop off locations for the one-month clothing drive. In November – the first month of the drive – more than 5,000 pounds of clothes were collected. IMPACT committed to paying back 17 cents for every pound, but increased the amount to 25 cents based on the high quality of the items it received. The monetary donation went directly to North Light Community Center.
While the first-ever Thanks4Giving Clothing Drive was held over one month, ADVENT’s founder continued hauling bags of garments to IMPACT in his own car a month after the drive ended.
The community’s willingness to open their closets for the cause, combined with local businesses’ charity in hosting drop-off locations inspired ADVENT to expand the annual clothing drive.
The following year, Thanks4Giving was extended from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015. ADVENT enlisted the help of 30 businesses to sign on as collection locations, including Roxborough Memorial Hospital, Planet Fitness and area apartment buildings.
Thanks4Giving takes more than a month of planning before the two-month clothing drive kicks off. A grassroots campaign using posters, social media and collection boxes covered in bright holiday wrapping paper helped the initiative bring in a whopping 15,000 pounds of clothing in 2015 – three times more than in the collection’s inaugural year.
Last year, more than 15,300 pounds of clothing were collected. ADVENT’s founder worked with North Light to recruit a network of volunteers who are assigned collection locations to monitor. When the bins fill up, volunteers pick up the garments and drop them off at a donated storage unit.
Previously, Manayunk Self Storage set aside a 10-by-10-foot unit for the project. Packed to its brim, the unit holds about 7,500 pounds of clothing. This year Mr. Storage on Ridge Avenue in Manayunk has donated space to house the collections.
IMPACT Thrift Stores was Thanks4Giving’s primary partner for the project’s first three years. The company was recently acquired by another thrift store company that does not run the same cash back donation program.
The 2017 Thanks4Giving Clothing Drive partners with ClothingShoeDrive.com by Ameritrex Industries Corporation. The family-owned company operates a warehouse in Princeton, New Jersey.
ClothingShoeDrive.com accepts gently used clothing of all sizes and for all ages, including shoes, outerwear and accessories. Items collected will go to low income areas in the United States and abroad to be sold at economical prices.
ClothingShoeDrive.com will offer 20 cents for every pound Thanks4Giving collects this season.
The money will go directly to North Light Community Center.
In three years, the community center has been the benefactor of more than $10,000 through Thanks4Giving’s collection of over 35,000 pounds of clothing and through the financial support of local organizations like The UPS Store in Roxborough and Vybe Urgent Care.
The 2017 drive kicked off Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 31.
ADVENT recruited dozen of area businesses, schools and community buildings to host collection boxes. A full list of drop-off locations are listed on Thanks4Giving’s Facebook page – Facebook.com/Thanks4GivingPhilly.