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Posts Tagged ‘needy’

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Photo: Ann Hermes/Christian Science Monitor
Men in need of a suit for a funeral, say, or a job interview can get one fitted to perfection at the nonprofit Sharp Dressed Man in Baltimore and Los Angeles.

When my daughter-in-law’s parents were doing spring cleaning one year, they donated boxes of clothes in excellent condition to one of the Providence agencies where I’m an ESL volunteer. Dorcas International has many services besides English classes, and one of them is a secondhand shop that provides household goods and clothes for refugees (if you are used to Africa, you definitely need a warm coat for Rhode Island winters) and for needy residents referred by other agencies.

I was glad to learn that there are similar services in other cities.

David Karas writes at the Christian Science Monitor, “On a frigid December afternoon, Tyler Freburger is standing in front of a set of mirrors wearing a suit picked out for him by a tailor. He sorely needs the attire for a funeral later in the week.

“A homeless veteran living in Baltimore, Mr. Freburger would usually have difficulty securing such an outfit, especially one selected for him personally. But in this instance, he was referred to the nonprofit Sharp Dressed Man.

“Since 2011, the organization has been helping men improve their lives by equipping them for job interviews and other occasions with well-fitting suits and accessories. …

“ ‘It’s a blessing that they are here,’ says Freburger, who notes that the organization has treated him well and has been working to supply what he needs – something he is not accustomed to in his daily life. …

The nonprofit was founded by clothing designer Christopher Schafer, who sought to give those in need an experience more like a visit to his custom clothing shop than stopping at a warehouse. …

“[Some years ago,] When Schafer was delivering some custom suits to a client, he was handed two bags of gently worn suits in return.

“ ‘He said I spoiled him with how I made his custom suits fit, and he couldn’t wear his old suits anymore,’ Schafer says. ‘They were still very nice, and he didn’t know where to take them.’

“Schafer found a nonprofit that would accept the suits and put them to good use, but as time went on, more of his clients did the same thing. At the suggestion of a friend, he decided to launch his own nonprofit, Sharp Dressed Man. …

” ‘Since those two bags of clothes, I believe we have dressed about 7,000 people,’ Schafer says. .. ‘If you treat a guy with dignity, he has a better chance of treating himself with dignity. … It is really powerful when you see guys when they are suited up and they are kind of glowing,’ he says. …

” ‘I had a battle with drugs and alcohol for 20 years, and if I wouldn’t have changed my life, I either would have been dead or I would have been in line asking for free soup,’ he says. … ‘That’s why I do it.’ ”

More at the Christian Science Monitor, here.

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Back in November, Jamie Smith Hopkins wrote for the Baltimore Sun about a group called Gather Baltimore, which “collects donations of food from farmers markets and schools and delivers them to organizations in the city for distribution to those in need.”

Hopkins says, “Gather Baltimore, the fledging group that organized the rapid harvest, does this work every week — collecting food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it in city neighborhoods.”

“Arthur Gray Morgan, a teacher and urban farmer who founded Gather Baltimore, is a newly minted fellow with the Open Society Institute-Baltimore. His fellowship mission for the next 18 months: expand Gather Baltimore and make it sustainable. …”Morgan, who tends the Hamilton Crop Circle gardens in Northeast Baltimore, has collected and distributed free food for several years — ever since he saw how much went to waste at farmers’ markets. What couldn’t be sold wasn’t necessarily taken back to the farm. Frequently, it was tossed out.

“That bothered Morgan, who hears a frequent refrain from his students at Hamilton Elementary/Middle: ‘I’m hungry, I’m hungry.’ …

“Now he and his army of volunteers have the work down to a science — harvesting, picking up donations from local stores and stopping off at the downtown farmers’ market to cart off anything farmers want to contribute after the customers leave.”

You can help Gather Baltimore by voting for it at reddit, here.

Photograph of Arthur Gray Morgan: Baltimore Sun

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